The Language of Faith Operates In The Past Tense

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The language of faith operates in the past tense. A comparison of Robert Young Literal Translation of the Bible and the King James Version

the language of faith
Sunlight breaking through the cloud cover

Pastor Joseph Prince referred to the preface of Robert Young’s Literal Translation Bible (YLTB) where Robert Young said that the Hebrew language only has past and present tenses. There is no future tense.

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) is a translation of the Bible into English, published in 1862. The translation was made by Robert Young, compiler of Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible and Concise Critical Comments on the New Testament.

It is a literal translation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts. This is because Young believes that “The Word of God is made void by the traditions of men.” It preserves the tenses, the articles, the subjunctive, verbs, nouns and etc.

Why is this important?

Let us look at two bible passages and compare the King James Version with Young’s Literal Translation.

Genesis 17:4-5

As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

King James Version

I–lo, My covenant [is] with thee, and thou hast become father of a multitude of nations; and 5 thy name hath been Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations have I made thee;

Robert Young Literal Translation

See the differences?

Where KJV says “thou shalt be” which is future tense, YLT says “thou has become” which is past perfect tense.

In God’s eyes, Abraham has already become a father of a multitude of nations even when he is still childless.

When Abraham believed this, it is by faith.

As we read through Genesis, we know that Abraham did become the father of multitudes.

Now that we know that Hebrew has no future tense, we know that the language of God operates in the past and present tenses.

Deuteronomy 7:14-15

14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

King James Version

14 Blessed art thou above all the people, there is not in thee a barren man or a barren woman — nor among your cattle; 15 and Jehovah hath turned aside from thee every sickness and none of the evil diseases of Eqypt (which thou hast known) doth He put on thee, and He hath put them on all hating thee.

Young Literal Translation

Where KJV uses the future tense for blessings: “Thou shall be blessed” and “will”, the Literal Translation uses the past tense, “blessed art thou” and “hath turned aside”.

What is the significance for the language of faith?

When you read God’s promise in the past tense, it means that the promise has been fulfilled. We are not still waiting for God to bless. He has already blessed. We simply receive.

I am going to make more comparisons between different translations of bible passages regarding God’s promises and blessings for me.

Pastor Joseph Prince always encouraged us to make our requests to the Lord out loud. Claim the Lord’s promises out loud and receive our blessings out loud.

This can be awkward. At least, I think so. I am not used to being so direct and outspoken about my prayer requests. Another reason is fearing how other people might think about me.

In this sermon, Pastor Prince demonstrated, through the Scriptures, why Abba God is pleased with such external expressions of faith. These outward expressions are not for man, they are for God.