Why Far East is correct in
Isaiah 43:5, Moffatt Translation
Letter to the Editor:
GOD'S MESSAGE, November 2009, p.3
GOD'S MESSAGE, November 2009, p.3
IT HAS BEEN MY HOBBY to read various religious magazines. I love comparing religious magazines. I love comparing the beliefs of different religious organizations and I'm fond of knowing at least the basis of their beliefs.
Through your magazine God's Message, I learned that one of the bases of what you claim as your "election" as God's children is the prophecy written in Isaiah 43:5-6 which mentions about God's sons and daughters from the east I noticed however that to make it appear that it specifically refers to the members of the Church of Christ, your religion which originated from the Philippines, a country in the Far East you often use Moffatt's Translation of the Bible which categorically puts "Far East" in the verse instead of just "east". But what are Moffart's credentials that made you subscribe to his rendition of that verse? Why do you believe that "far east" is correct in Isaiah 43:5?
Concerning Mr. James Moffatt and his translation of the Bible, The Oxford Companion to the Bible (ed. by Metzger and Coogan 1993), which has more than 250 contributors, representing "international community of scholars, coming from some twenty centuries, on five continents has this to say:
“The translation that made the greatest impact upon the Bible-reading public, though, was that of the Scottish scholar James Moffatt … his translation of the Old Testament appeared in 1924 and the whole Bible was revised in 1935. He spent the last years of his life as professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary,
(p.761) New York
However, this is not the reason we quote Moffatt’s rendition of Isaiah 43:5 in which he used the term “far east” instead of just plain “east” as other versions have it. By examining the said verse, we will notice that the prophet explicitly says “east” in verse 5, and mentions “from afar” in verse 6. Now since the ones being prophesied in verse 5 as coming from the “east” are the very ones being referred to in verse 6 as “from afar”, it is clear then that they are “from afar” in the “east” or Far East.
That Moffatt’s rendition of the verse is correct is further substantiated by the fact that in original Hebrew, the word which he translated as “far east” is “mizrach” (Isa. 4-3:5, Hebrew-English Tanakh by the Jewish Publication Society). Concerning the Hebrew term “mizrach,” the Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith has this to say:
“East. The Hebrew term kedem proper means that which is before or in front of a person, and was applied to the east from the custom of turning in that direction when describing the points of the compass, before, behind, the right and the left representing respectively east, west, south and north, Job 23:8, 9, The term as generally used refers to the lands lying immediately eastward of Palestine, viz. Arabia, Mesopotamia and BabyIonia. On the other hand mizrach is used of the far east with a less definite signification, Isa. 43:5; 46:11.” (p. 154)
Here is a testimony of a renowned Bible scholar that “mizrach” was the Hebrew term used in Isaiah 43:5, and that this term is the equivalent in English of “far east.”
Moreover, in a related prophecy, the country “afar” in the “east” from where God’s people in these last days would come from is composed of “islands of the sea” (Isa. 24: 15, King James Version). The Philippines, the country from which the Church of Christ reemerged in these last days, is made up of more than 7,100 islands and is situated almost at the geographical center of the Far East (Asia and the Philippines, p. 169). These are just some of the reasons why we do firmly believe that the place in the prophecy (Isaiah 43:5-6) referred to as “mizrach” or “far east” has the Philippine as its fulfillment.