When Christ said “except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53), He did not mean His literal body. Most people will accept this as true. The Son of God was obviously not advocating Papua New Guinea style cannibalism.
He was of course speaking of His figurative body and blood, which we partake in when we observe Holy Communion, a practice that began 2000 years before Christ came to Earth, as demonstrated by Abraham and Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18.
So, why do we take other Scriptural accounts that were meant to be taken figuratively, literally?
There are accounts in Scripture that were written in Hebrew and Aramaic and both of these languages tend to use polite words for things, places and situations that may be indiscreet to mention in decent company.
For instance, the word that would literally be translated as carnal copulation or coitus between a man and a woman is referred to as knowledge or know in the Old Testament of Scripture.
So, when Genesis 4:1 says
“Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.”
The word knew in question is the Hebrew word ya-da‘ and it is a polite way of saying that Adam had coitus with Eve. That word is used in various tenses and adjectives of the word know, including knew, knowledge, knowing and to know. Bear this in mind, as I will connect the dots later. But first, let me share a first hand account of a girl who once lived and may still live in the ancient city of Benin. It is a true story.
Have you ever known or grown up with or watched an innocent, chaste young girl grow up? If you had, you will know that young girls can be quite impressionable and easily swayed.
For instance, I know of a young girl in Benin, an ancient city in Nigeria, in the early 90s who was like that. So innocent. So bashful. So chaste and pure. Until one day, this girl changed. What happened to her? A certain big man in the neighbourhood had taken advantage of her.
No. It was not rape. This big man (now an ex Senator) was popular in the neighbourhood for his wealth and his philandering ways. Apparently, he had his eyes set on this innocent girl and one day, he ‘innocently’ gave her a lift, propositioned her, and in her naivety, she got carried away, and this man had carnal knowledge of her and they became habitual lovers.
It was clear to the whole neighbourhood that this girl had changed. Her eyes became open. She lost her innocence. Her natural hair was no longer good enough for her. She got a perm. And her terracotta skin would no longer do. It was a case of Tura to the rescue. The more she invested in Tura cream, the shinier and lighter she became.
Her dressing also changed. She became a Lolita. She would no longer talk to us, small boys and girls, in the neighbourhood. Her level had changed. She was now above us. She became a sisi. I do not know if this word is still in use in today’s Nigeria, but those Nigerians known as Bendelites, would catch my drift.
And then her sugar daddy tired of her, or maybe not. Maybe he just found a new impressionable young girl fresh out of secondary school and moved on. I do not know which. You never quite know with these things. But in any case, she became another in the long list of neighbourhood girls he had used and dumped.
The above is a true story. I know the name of the girl, the name of the ex Senator and the neighbourhood were this occurred in Benin, Nigeria.
But why is it relevant? It is relevant because it is an example of how an innocent girl can lose her innocence and literally have her eyes opened by having a sexual encounter.
I have read the Scriptures from cover to cover and in multiple translations as well as in English, Greek (New Testament), Aramaic and Hebrew. I have also visited Israel, Greece, Rome, Ethiopia, Turkey and many other places in search of deeper insight into Scripture.
How well do you know the Scriptures? I have a secondary school friend named Kehinde, who is now sort of a pastor and he wrote on Facebook that he has jettisoned all other translations of The Holy Bible and he just holds to his King James Version jeje (a Yoruba word meaning gently), and I laughed. If only he knew!
If you have only read one translation of Scripture, I urge you to read another one. And then another. A lot is lost in translation. For example, if I converted $100 into pounds today, I may get £80.30. But if I tried to buy back $100 with that £80.30, I would not be able to. Why? Because value is always lost in the conversion process.
It is the same with Scripture. Scripture was not written in English. It was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. And when Scripture is translated, a lot of value is lost. That is why you should read multiple translations. But the best is to teach yourself the original languages or learn them professionally, then read original manuscripts in their mother language.
Why? Because Scripture was inspired by God, but translations were, in many cases, inspired by men. Men, like King James, who had his own agenda.
You have probably read Matthew 11:12 in the King James Version, which says: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
The truth is that what the original Greek says and what the KJV above says, are almost as different as night and day. You read the above and feel like taking the kingdom “by force”. But that is because it was translated at the behest of a king who had a conqueror’s mentality.
Let us read that verse in the New International Version and see if you will even recognise it:
“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” Now, let us read it in the Contemporary English Version: “From the time of John the Baptist until now, violent people have been trying to take over the kingdom of heaven by force.”
Or consider Isaiah 45:11 in the King James Version, which says:
“Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”
Now, it appears to indicate that God wants us to command Him about the works of His hand. But, you must understand that that is what a King wants to hear, and since he paid for the translation, that is what his translators gave him.
But read it in the New International Version.
“This is what the LORD says– the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?”
Let us also read the Contemporary English Version:
“I am the LORD, the Creator, the holy God of Israel. Do you DARE question me about my own nation or about what I have done?” You can see from the NIV and CEV, that God is warning us not to dare presume to command Him. He is God and we are man. He is the Creator and we are His creatures.
Do you now see what translations can do? He who pays the translator dictates the translation.
Take something like leprosy. When you read the word leprosy in the King James Version, it is rarely referring to what you know as leprosy. The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words translated as leprosy, often refer to a variety of skin diseases, but the translators could not find an exact meaning for them, so a choice was made to call any skin disease leprosy.
You have probably read or heard of Naaman, the head of the Syrian Army in 2 Kings chapter 5. He is referred to as a leper in the KJV and many other English translations. But almost all scholars, and even the translators of the KJV, put a cautionary note indicating that the word leprosy, as used for Naaman, is a generic word for skin disease. It is more likely that Naaman had another type of skin infection.
How do we know? Because, in those days, actual lepers were isolated and ostracised and it is unlikely that a leper would rise to the trusted position as head of the king’s army and stand in the presence of the king. Leprosy was often infectious, and in those days, they had little knowledge of which leprosy was infectious and which was not.
If you read Scripture, you would see that it is a truthful and holy work and is the inspired word of God. However, the word of God in Proverbs 2:4 says that you cannot truly understand God’s wisdom except you “seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures.”
Turn to Songs of Solomon 2:3 and you will read the following:
“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” (KJV)
Songs of Solomon is a book believed to be written by King Solomon (its authorship is not certain) about the carnal intercourse of two young lovers. The theme is about the erotic intimacy of the lovers.
But note how King Solomon (?) uses polite words to describe the male lover. He is described as ‘the apple tree’, while other men are described as ‘trees of the woods’. Next, notice how he describes the coitus between them. The young female lover says ‘his fruit was sweet to my taste’.
So a tree means a man, and coitus is described as fruit that is sweet.
In Rabbinical Judaism, Songs of Solomon 2:3 is said to represent “the male sign of the covenant organ of procreation.”
Remember those dots I promised to connect? Now may be a good time to connect them, but I don’t want to connect them for you. Perhaps you can connect them yourself.
I would not want to dwell too much on this issue other than to say that my readers should read the whole of Songs of Solomon chapter 2. When you have done so, consider reading Genesis chapters 2 and 3. And after you have done so, sit back and think. Perhaps the Spirit would minister to you.
In fact, William Shakespeare borrowed (or stole?) lines from Songs of Solomon in several of his works including Romeo and Juliet. Some think, and I agree with them, that he did this because in Elizabethan England, coitus was considered too unseemly for decent conversation and so it had to be referred to in allegorical terms, which the Songs of Solomon does in a way that no other work of human origin does.
Why am I writing this? I am writing this to remind, or perhaps to inform my readers for the very first time (if they did not already know this), that Scripture is an esoteric book that should not be read, but studied.
The word of God says: “STUDY to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”-2 Timothy 2:15.
Study. What a simple word. But a deep word, nevertheless. It is a word that runs very deep. It means that you read, in an unhurried pace. Then you ponder over what you have read. Medicate and meditate on it. Chew it over, until it permeates your soulish man and crosses over to your spirit man, where true understanding is.
For as Job 32:8 says: “there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”
In this part of the world, we are very lazy to study and as this is the case, we easily fall prey to people who depend on REVELATION rather than ELUCIDATION by studying Scripture. But in reality, IT IS WRITTEN is a far more accurate way to stave off spiritual error, than THE SPIRIT TOLD ME.
May God bless you and open your eyes to understand His word and may He feel you with the urge to “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:”-John 5:39.
By Reno Omokri
Thinker. #1 Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years. Avid traveller. Table Shaker. Buhari Tormentor. Sharer of the Gospel, not the gossip.