The Ephraim-Scepter Heresy, Part 5


This is the fifth in a series on this subject, and you might not fully understand this paper unless you have read the first four. The proponents of this theory claim that the entire Tribe of Judah are corrupted with satanic seed and that the Messiah came from the Tribe of Ephraim. They manipulate many Biblical passages entirely out-of-context to contrive such an end. With this paper, we are going to address one passage they use in their malevolent agenda. That passage is Revelation 5:5, and William Finck has the following to say on the topic: 


First, let us review some quotes from Buddy Johnson and his coconspirator, Russell Walker, on this verse. Starting with their joint paper In Search Of The Missing Birthright, on the last page of my copy dated 2-27-03: “We (Buddy Johnson and Russell Walker) have exposed this error and deception to help you overcome the lion of Judah, just as the true Greek reads in Rev. 5:5 Christ says, ‘behold I the lamb have overcome the lion of Judah to open the seals there of’.”

When I (William Finck) questioned Russell Walker on this ‘translation’, he responded to me in a letter dated 4-8-03: “You give an exegesis of Rev. 5:5. That verse has nothing to do with the Birthright location.” So by this shifty maneuver he completely avoided discussing his claim concerning Rev. 5:5!

Buddy Johnson later sent me a letter, unsigned and undated (even the postmark was illegible) which I received on 5-12-03. In it he stated: “You ask for proof of context for the ‘lamb that overcame the lion; [sic.’] ... We will only ask you to consult the Zondervan parallel new testament in Greek and English page #735, it must be the 1975 edition or older as the ‘jews’ have purchased the Zondervan co. of Grand Rapids Michigan, 49506 and changed the Greek to read as you now declare to be correct.” (Of course, I (William Finck) never once referred to a Zondervan publication concerning this verse.)

I had good reason to wait five months to reply to Buddy Johnson’s May letter, and on October 13th wrote 13 pages to him, stating this about his reply concerning Rev. 5:5:

“If you (Buddy Johnson) were truly aware of the level of scholarship in New Testament studies which may be acquired, then you would be aware of the credibility of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, which I use the 27th edition of, commonly referred to as the NA27, for which you may see the attachments I’ve included here marked A-1, A-2, and A-3. The NA27 includes the variations among the Greek manuscripts handed down through the centuries, and the many (nearly 100) papyri discovered recently by archaeology, listing hundreds of these sources and where they reside today (university, museum, etc.), and excludes nothing of importance. I can not conceive of a work that would eclipse the NA27 in either comprehension or integrity. It is a volume which undergoes great scrutiny, and I have never read a criticism concerning it. I have included a copy of the page from this volume showing Rev. 5:5, which as I explained before, by no means supports your claim.

“In addition to the NA27, I have a 1929 reprint of the British and Foreign Bible Society’s 1904 edition of their Η ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ (‘The New Testament’), actually a gift forwarded to me by Clifton Emahiser a few years ago, which was printed by the Society based upon the 4th Nestle-Aland edition, first published in 1898. See my attachments marked B-1 and B-2. Attachment B-3 is the page with Rev. 5:5, and neither does it support your claims concerning that verse.”

I then testified to Johnson that George Ricker Berry’s Interlinear New Testament wouldn’t support his claims either, but could not supply him with copies from that volume when I wrote him. Then I told him: “Now if I ... can supply you with copies of my citations, why do you not return the favor? Surely if you could, Buddy, you would be glad to! Until you do, I will assume that you are also lying about that. The Zondervan text won’t support your claim either. If it did, both the NA4 and the NA27 would show it! Produce your cause, and your evidence, or again – you are a false witness!

To this date Buddy Johnson has not answered my accusations in that letter, nor addressed any of the stated facts – all of which are contrary to his assertions. Rather, he figured out a different way to pervert the Greek of Rev. 5:5, stating in a response dated 12-12-03, to Clifton Emahiser’s pamphlet The Ephraim-Scepter Heresy, #1, and in his typically erratic typing: “Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, I overcome the lion of the tribe of Juda, TO LOOSE THE SEALS, THE Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, [see JP Green sr. Interlinear Greek Isbn # 1-878442-82-1]”. Now he exchanges one lie for another, because I’ve read J. P. Green’s text here and that doesn’t support his claim either! Buddy Johnson does not partake in discussion. Rather, he plays dodge-ball, and has built his house on a foundation of shifting sand. Will Buddy Johnson ever stop lying? 


This document hopes to make it manifest that Buddy Johnson and his followers would pervert the meaning of Revelation 5:5, and force the words of that verse to take on a meaning which they can’t possibly have. The construction of sentences in Greek is unlike that of English, and strict rules govern the application of the words. Johnson and his cronies, unlearned in the Greek language or in the rules of grammar, are armed with interlinear Bibles which show the definitions of words in the order which they appear in Greek – but not in English. They manipulate the texts into meanings which defy the rules of Greek grammar.

First some elements of grammar should be defined, from the American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd edition:

“nominative: ... 3. Grammar  Of, relating to, or belonging to a case of the subject of a finite verb and of words identified with the subject of a copula, such as a predicate nominative ...”

“accusative: ... Of, relating to, or being the case of a noun, pronoun, adjective, or participle that is a direct object of a verb or the object of certain prepositions.”

“subject: ... 6. Grammar  The noun, noun phrase, or pronoun in a sentence or clause that denotes the doer of the action or what is described by the predicate and that in some languages can be identified by its position in simple sentences and in other languages by inflectional endings.”

“object: ... 4. Grammar a. A noun or substantive that receives or is affected by the action of a verb within a sentence. b. A noun or substantive following and governed by a preposition.”

Now reading the definition for subject, I may state that in English, the subject of a sentence is usually identifiable by its position: by the order of the words. But in Greek, the subject – and the object of a verb, as can be told here in the definition given for Accusative – is distinguished by its inflectional ending. In a brief summary, the Nominative case marks the subject, the doer of the action of the verb, and the Accusative case marks the object, the recipient of the action of the verb.

There is, for Greek grammar and the identification of all parts of speech, tenses of verbs, cases of nouns, etc., an excellent little book available for about ten dollars, by William G. Mac Donald titled Greek Enchiridion – A Concise Handbook of Grammar for Translation and Exegesis which will not instruct one in the elements of grammar, but will help one identify those elements in Greek. I would recommend this book, because of its ease of use and inexpensive price, to anyone who would want to investigate Greek further than what the interlinears and concordances offer, yet without investing in expensive grammars and lexicons.

Most Greek nouns, pronouns, participles, adjectives and the Greek definite Article (in English: “the”) are separable into one of eight grammatical cases, of which the inflectional endings identify with one of four groups: 1) Nominative and Vocative, 2) Genitive and Ablative, 3) Dative, Instrumental and Locative, and 4) Accusative. The purpose of cases other than the Nominative and Accusative is beyond the scope of this document, and will not be discussed here. Some Greek nouns are indeclinable, meaning that the ending of the word does not change, regardless of its case. The case of these words is often determinable, however, by the case of the Article where it accompanies the word.

Here is a chart containing the Greek Article, separated by case, gender and number (singular/plural): 

  Masculine  Feminine  Neuter 
 Nominative - Vocative:    /οἱ   /αἱ   τό/τά
 Genitive - Ablative:    τοῦ/τῶν  τῆς/τῶν  τοῦ/τῶν
 Dative - Instrumental - Locative:  τῷ/τοῖς  τῇ/ταῖς    τῷ/τοῖς
 Accusative:    τόν/τούς  τήν/τάς  τό/τά


This should be all of the information needed in order to examine the portion of Rev. 5:5 over which Buddy Johnson and his colleagues cause such confusion and strife. Without debating the reliability of certain Greek texts, or the provenance of ancient manuscripts, I will use the NA27 (Nestle - Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition) text here, since differences among the various manuscripts have no bearing on the issue of the matter at hand. First, I will transcribe the verse in portions accompanied with a translation of each clause:  

καὶ  εἷς   ἐκ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων λέγει  μοι·   μὴ κλαῖε, 
And   one  of   the       elders   said   to me:   do not weep 


 ἰδοὺ  ἐνίκησεν  ὁ λέων  ὁ ἐκ   τῆς φυλῆς   ούδα,  ἡ ῥίζα  Δαυίδ,
 Behold!  Has prevailed  the  lion   of   the tribe  of Judah,  the root  of David,



ἀνοῖξαι  τὸ βιβλίον  καὶ  τὰς   ἑπτὰ     σφραγῖδας   αὐτοῦ.   
to  open   the  book  and  the    seven    seals  of it.  


Here I have written the English translation of these three clauses as the words appear in their Greek order. If I were translating the verse for consumption by an English speaking public, I would write: “And one of the elders said to me: Do not weep; Behold! The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the book and its seven seals.” Now this translation, and the word order in English, is in harmony with that of J. P. Green, whose interlinear Buddy Johnson likes to quote here, as with the King James A.V., and here I will explain why the words “has prevailed” were moved. Buddy Johnson here invents a subject within this Greek sentence, “the Lamb”, which is nowhere within this clause in any Greek manuscript. He then states that in this verse it is “the Lamb” who “prevails over the lion” of Judah, a ridiculous contrivance indeed! Yet it gets worse than this, for once Buddy Johnson is shown this error, he invents a new interpretation which attempts to render the same verb twice! For he takes the verb ἐνίκησεν, “has prevailed” above, and translates it first “I overcome” (a first person reading of a third person verb form) and then “hath prevailed” later in the sentence! Since the first clauses of this verse, written on the first line above, are not at issue here, I will discard them and explain the components of the second and third lines of the Greek written above, following the word ἰδοὺ which is the interjection, “Behold!”

ἐνίκησεν: This is the Aorist tense, Active voice, 3rd person singular of the verb νικάω “to conquer, prevail, vanquish” (Liddell and Scott). From the American Heritage College Dictionary: “Active ... 7. Grammar a. Indicating that the subject of the sentence is performing or causing the action of the verb. Used of a verb form or voice.” See Mac Donald, Greek Enchiridion, pages 4 and 9 through 18 for more information concerning verbs of the Aorist tense, along with page IV of the introduction of George Ricker Berry’s Greek to English Interlinear New Testament under “2. Points of grammar.” for a good summary of the translating of verbs in the Aorist tense.

ὁ λέων: “the lion”, in the Nominative case, making this noun the subject of the sentence. For an example of this noun in the Accusative case, τὸν λέοντα, see Brenton’s Septuagint at I Kings 17:36, II Kings 23:20 or (without the Article) Ezekiel 19:5.

Although I will of course continue, it should already be established that “the lion” is the subject of the sentence here, and the doer of the action of the verb “to prevail.” Greek grammar leaves no room for the disputation of these facts! Only the most stubborn imbecile could make an attempt to do so!

ὁ ἐκ   τῆς φυλῆς  ούδα: “of the tribe of Judah.” The Greek Article has much more functionality than the simple English “the.” It also functions as “a linguistic handle for holding a word or group of words in thought”, among other things (Mac Donald, Greek Enchiridion, page 113). Here the first Article , which I leave untranslated above, being of the Nominative case marks the phrase which follows it as a supplementary part of the subject. If I had to translate it, I could write “who is” or “that is” and then “of the tribe ...” (see Liddell & Scott, Ò, A. I., B. I. and B. III. I. for examples), which would be superfluous. The words τῆς φυλῆς ούδα are of the Genitive case, showing possession, “of”, and ¦6 means “from”, “of”, or “from out of.” My rendering above is the simplest one possible.

ἡ ῥίζα Δαυίδ: “the root of David”, ἡ ῥίζα is also Nominative, and it is evident that this supplementary clause is also a part of the subject of the sentence, and further defining “the lion.” Δαυίδ is an indeclinable noun, spelled the same regardless of case.

Here it should be perfectly clear that “the lion” is “of the tribe of Judah” and is also called “the root of David”, and being the subject of an active verb for it can not possibly be anything else here is the one doing the overcoming or prevailing. So “the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed”, because in English we are accustomed to writing the subject of the sentence first, and then its verb, followed by the object.

ἀνοῖξαι: “to open”, the Aorist Active Infinitive. “Not properly a mood, the infinitive nevertheless has voice and tense and is parsed (analyzed grammatically) as a mood. It functions to express action without the limitations of personal endings.” (Mac Donald, pg. 51). This infinitive accompanies the direct object Accusative and itself is part of the object of the sentence, being the object of the verb “has prevailed.” (see Mac Donald, pg. 53).

τὸ βιβλίον: “the book”, the diminutive of the word βίβλος, or “book”, its Nominative and Accusative cases are identical (compare Hebrews 9:19, where the clause τὸ βιβλίον καὶ πάντα τὸν λαὸν, or “the book and all the people” are the object of the verb ἐρράντισεν, or “he sprinkled.”) Here it is evident that the phrase belongs to the Accusative case, being not only the direct object of the verb “to open” but also accompanying the Accusative τὰς σφραγῖδας.

καὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ σφραγῖδας αὐτοῦ: “and its seven seals”, τὰς is the Accusative plural Article, σφραγῖδας the Accusative plural form of σφραγίς, span style=Η ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗtext-align: justify; text-indent: .5in“subject: ... 6. Arialspan style=or “seal.” The pronoun αὐτοῦ is Genitive (possessive) and states that the seven seals belong to the object which precedes, “the book.” These Accusative nouns, with the verb ἀνοῖξαι, together comprise the object of the sentence and of the verb ἐνίκησεν or “has overcome.” No amount of wordplay or manipulation by Buddy Johnson and his fellow conspirators can change these basic elements of Greek grammar!

                             William Finck 

Clifton A. Emahiser’s Teaching Ministries

1012 North Vine Street, Fostoria, Ohio  44830

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