Revelation 17:8 KJB – “…and they shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS.” (καιπερ εστιν) 

ESV – “…will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not AND IS TO COME.” (και παρεσται)


All King James Bible critics have a strong tendency to exaggerate, twist and misrepresent the evidence, and even to flat out LIE.  They unconsciously reveal their underlying hatred towards God’s true Holy Book and final authority.   Blinded by their own pride, they make themselves out to be the authoritative voice for what they independently think God may or may not have caused to be written in His inspired and infallible Scriptures.

Not one of them completely agrees with anybody else about what should or should not be in “the Bible” and not one of them actually believes that there EVER was nor IS NOW any such thing as a complete, inspired, inerrant, infallible and 100% true Holy Bible in any language, including their ever changing and elusive “the” Hebrew and “the” Greek.

Such a Bible critic is Detroit Baptist Seminary Dean and Professor, William W. Combs.  He has written a booklet called “Errors in the King James Version?”

The other day I received an email listing a particular example of what Doctor Combs affirms in no uncertain terms is an undeniable error in our beloved King James Bible.  Here are some of the things Mr. Combs mentions in his harangue against the Book of books.

He says: [quote] “In the NT the translators of the KJV used a Greek text commonly called the Textus Receptus. Its origins go back to the various editions produced by the Roman Catholic scholar Erasmus beginning in 1516. There is no one edition of the TR, but a number of editions with some differences among them. It is generally agreed that the edition used by the translators of the KJV was the fifth edition (1598) of Theodore Beza. All editions of the TR have some readings that are clearly erroneous, but have remained in the KJV. For example, in Revelation 17:8 the KJV reads:  The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and “yet is”. [/quote]

Comment on what Mr. Combs has said so far. 


Notice how he tries to discredit and vilify Erasmus as a “Catholic” scholar.  Erasmus had strongly criticized many beliefs and practices of the Catholic church of his day and he died surrounded by his Protestant friends.


The Catholic church never did approve of the Textus Receptus.  In 1559 Pope Paul IV condemned Erasmus as a heretic and placed his works on the list of authors forbidden to be read. Most importantly, no Catholic bible version ever used the Greek text of Erasmus as the basis for their translations, but ALL Reformation bibles did use Erasmus, Stephanus and Beza as their textual basis.


One might just as accurately describe Martin Luther as “a Catholic monk” when in 1517 he nailed his now famous 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg.

Mr. Combs berates Erasmus, and yet notes in passing that it was Theodore Beza’s Greek text produced some 82 years later that, in the main, the King James Bible translators used – not that of Erasmus.  

Mr. Combs continues: “The final words in the verse, “and yet is,” should actually read “and shall come”—”the beast that was, and is not, and shall come.” NO GREEK MANUSCRIPT READS “and yet is”; ALL HAVE “and shall come.” … THIS IS AN UNDISPUTABLE ERROR IN THE KJV and the Greek text (TR) that underlies it.” (Caps are mine)

Here is where the good Doctor Combs is fudging with the facts. It is NOT true that ALL manuscripts have “and shall come”.  The Nestle-Aland Critical Greek text 28th edition footnotes in Revelation 17:8 that καὶ πάρεστιν (and IS) as being the reading found in Sinaiticus 2. And it also lists mss. # 1854 as reading καὶ ὅτι πάρεστιν, which would translate as “and that is.”   


Just to give you some idea of the textual variants that exist for this one little verse, La Parola Greek lists the following:


θαυμασθήσονται] A P 1611 WH
θαυμάσονται] א 051 Byz ς

ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς] א A Byz ς WH
τὴν γὴν] al

τὸ ὄνομα] A al WH CEI Nv
τὰ ὀνόματα] א Byz ς NR ND Riv Dio NM

ἐπὶ τὸ βιβλίον] א A Byz ς WH
ἐπὶ τοῦ βιβλίου] al
ἐν βίβλῳ] pc
ἐν τῷ βίβλῳ] pc

βλεπόντων] א A Byz WH
βλέποντες] pc ς

τὸ θηρίον ὅτι ἦν] א A pm WH
ὅτι ἦν τὸ θηρίον] Byz
τὸ θηρίον ὁ τι ἦν] ς

καὶ παρέσται] A P 046 Byz WH NR CEI Riv TILC Nv NM
καὶ πάρεστιν] א2 al syrph
καὶ πάρεστι] al
καὶ πάλιν πάρεστε] א*
καίπερ ἐστίν] 2049 ς ND Dio
καὶ ὅτι πάρεστιν] 1854
παρέσται] 1746
καὶ ἔπεσεν] copbo
καὶ ἔσται] copsa
omit] vg eth Ps-Ambrose


 As for this single phrase “and yet is”, or as the Critical texts Vatican Versions have it “and shall be”, there are no less than NINE different readings, plus the Latin Vulgate that just OMITS the phrase altogether, and says: “when they see the beast that was and is not.”  So also read the Catholic Douay-Rheims 1582 and the Douay Version of 1950.  They just omit the last phrase altogether.  


Then it gets even more complicated when we look at Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta. This reads different than them all and says: “when they behold the beast that was, and is not, AND NOW WHOSE END HAS COME.”


Furthermore, as Jack Moorman points out in his book, When the KJV Departs From The “Majority” Text” on pages 103-104, manuscripts 2049, 1854, 2014, 2034 plus 31 other Andreas type manuscripts support the meaning of “and IS” or “and yet is”.  


If you chose to believe the bible agnostics and all those who have NO complete and inerrant Bible to believe in themselves or to give to anybody else (men like James White, Dan Wallace, James Snapp, Rick Norris, James Price, D.A. Carson and William Combs) that ALL the men who kept compiling the Traditional Reformation Bibles Greek texts that underlie the Reformation Bibles in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and every other language – made a mistake, misread or miswrote “AND YET IS” in Revelation 17:8, then you go right ahead and use their fake bible versions that NOBODY (not even the men who put them together) believes are God’s infallible words.  


I find it more than a little hard to believe that careful scholars like Erasmus 1517, Stephanus 1550, Beza 1598, Elzevir 1633 and Scrivener 1894, who had access to Greek manuscripts that we know nothing about ALL “misread”, “miswrote” or flat out “made up” the reading that God has placed in His inerrant Book and in all Reformation Bibles. 

Neither is it an “undisputable error in the KJV.” By the way, there is no such English word as Mr. Comb’s “undisputable” error; the correct word is “indisputable”.  And this man is teaching “the Bible” that he doesn’t believe at a Seminary somewhere in America!

Notice how all these Bible critics always pick on just ONE Bible?  It’s always the King James Bible that allegedly has all these “errors” in it.  Not Tyndale, nor the Geneva Bible, nor the Bishops’ nor the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, NKJV or Holman. 


No, it’s always the King James Bible.  Satan’s  hatred is directed through these modern day Bible agnostics against only One Book and that Book is the Authorized King James Holy Bible and none other.  It is the only Bible believed and defended by tens of thousands of blood bought Christians today as the inspired, inerrant and infallible words of the living God and the Standard by which all others are measured.

James White is another inconsistent Bible Agnostic who criticizes The “book of the LORD” (Isaiah 34:16 – and Yes, I am equating the book of the Lord to the King James Bible!).  In his book, The King James Only Controversy, on page 64 he also criticizes the reading found in the King James Bible in Revelation 17:8, and yet this same James White in this same book recommends by name only three modern versions as being “reliable” – the NASB, NIV and the NKJV.  Yet the NKJV reads exactly like the KJB he just criticized in Revelation 17:8!  These Bible critics are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.

Let’s now look more closely at the history and the evidence for the reading found in Revelation 17:8. Mr. Combs tells us that NO Greek manuscript reads like the King James Bible.  However the reading “and yet is” is found in several compiled Greek texts, including those of Erasmus 1517, Stephanus 1550, Beza 1598, Elzevir 1633 and Scrivener 1894. 

It is also found in the famous Sinaiticus Greek manuscript itself. The Sinaitucus manuscript has actually had three different readings. The first Sinaiticus reading apparently was “and AGAIN shall be”, but then another scribe changed this to the absurd “and again YOU ARE” and finally another scribe changed it again to finally read “and IS” (καὶ πάρεστιν), which essentially agrees with the KJB reading of “and yet is” (καίπερ ἐστίν). 


In his book When the KJV Departs from the “Majority” Text, brother Jack Moorman points out that not only does the Sinaiticus third reading give the same sense as that found in the TR, but so also do the Greek readings found in manuscripts 2049, 1854, 2014, 2034 plus 31 other Andreas type manuscripts. 

Mr. Moorman points out: “Keep in mind that the context of the reading is the future tribulation, not John’s day. It strains the sense to be looking at something that “will come”. NASB – “Those who dwell on the earth will wonder…when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” When the world looks at him, he IS, not “shall be”.


Many Bible commentators such as John Gill, Adam Clarke, Barne’s Notes on the New Testament, and Matthew Henry all expound the Scriptures on the basis of the reading “and yet is”. 

Doctors Hodges and Farstad, who put together the so called “Majority” Text, also note on page 777 of their book that there are also several Greek manuscripts that read “and IS” – parestin, the present tense of the verb parestai, instead of the future tense of this verb “and shall be” which is followed by many of the every changing modern versions.  This combined evidence shows that when the learned Dr. Combs stated in no uncertain terms that “NO Greek manuscript” reads as does the KJB, and that ALL read “and shall be” he is either woefully misinformed or he is lying.

There is a great deal of confusion found in the existing texts of Revelation 17:8 regarding the various readings of “and yet is” or  “and is” or “and shall be” or simply omitting the phrase altogether. The Latin Vulgate of 380 and 420 A.D. simply omit the phrase, and so do Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale and the Catholic Douay-Rheims 1582 and the 1950 Douay Version.

The 1841 English Hexapla shows the Greek text of Scholz, and the Six English translations of Wycliffe, Tyndale, Cranmer, the Geneva Bible, the Douay-Rheims and the Authorized 1611. Scholz’s Greek text is basically the Westcott-Hort text which omits literally thousands of words from the Textus Receptus Greek text that underlies the King James Bible.


However he does footnote the various readings from the Received Text, and he shows clearly that the reading of the Received text in Revelation 17:8 is καιπερ εστιν = “and yet is”, which is the one followed by the Geneva Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, the King James Bible and many other translations as we shall soon see.


Earlier versions like Wycliffe 1380, Tyndale 1534, Cranmer 1539 and the Douay-Rheims of 1582 followed yet different texts and just omit the phrase in question.  These four versions read: “when they behold the beast that was, and is not.” (nothing about “any yet is” nor the Critical texts “and shall be”.)

Sinaiticus original read “and again shall be”, but Sinaiticus correction says “and is”. Vaticanus omits all of Revelation, so it is of no help in determining the correct reading.


In fact, there is a New Testament Translated from the Sinaitic manuscript done in 1918 by Henry Anderson, and it reads: “…when they see the beast that was, and is not, THOUGH HE IS YET PRESENT.”



Modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV have chosen to follow the codex Alexandrinus manuscript here, but often reject other readings of codex Alexandrinus in the same book of the Revelation.  These modern version editors are not in the least bit concerned with what the so called “Majority” texts read because they simply reject outright hundreds of readings found in these majority texts. 


If they accuse the King James Bible believer of accepting the occasional “minority reading” as not being valid,  then they are guilty of blatant hypocrisy, because for every one minority reading found in the King James Bible there are at least 20 of them in versions like the NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, Holman, NET, etc.

The versions translated from the Syriac are also in disagreement, even with each other. Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Aramaic reads: “the beast that was, and is, and NOW WHOSE END HAS COME”, while Murdoch’s translation reads: “the beast that was, and IS NOT AND APPROACHETH.”





The reading of “the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS” (καιπερ εστιν) is found in the Bishops’ Bible of 1568, the Geneva Bibles from 1557 to 1602, The Beza New Testament 1599, the King James Bible 1611, The Bill Bible 1671, Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795 – “and is not, THOUGH HE IS.”, The Clarke N.T. 1795 – “AND YET IS”, The Revised Translation 1815 – “and yet again is”, The Hussey N.T. 1845, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Revised N.T. 1862 – “and is come again”, The Smith Bible 1876, Young’s literal 1898 “and is not, ALTHOUGH IT IS.”, the NKJV 1982,  the 2001 Urim-Thummin Version, the Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, Interlinear Greek New Testament 1997 (Larry Pierce), the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Koster Scriptures 1998 – “AND YET IS”, the Lawrie Translation 1998 – “seeing the beast which was and is not, AND YET IS.”, The Last Days N.T. 1999 – “and has again come into existence.”, The Tomson New Testament 2002 – “and YET IS.”, The Evidence Bible 2003, Green’s Literal 2005, Bond Slave Version 2009, The Faithful N.T. 2009 – “and is present”, Online Interlinear 2010 (Larry Pierce) kaiper estin = “and YET IS”, The Conservative Bible 2010 – “and yet is still alive.”, the 2010 English Jubilee Bible – “the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.”, Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 – “when they see the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.”, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, and the 2012 Natural Israelite Bible – “when they see the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.”


The Last Days Bible 1999 – “the beast which does not now exist, HAS AGAIN COME INTO EXISTENCE.”


Faithful New Testament 2009 – “seeing the beast that was and is not and IS PRESENT.” 


Conservative Bible 2011 – “who was alive, is now dead, AND YET IS STILL ALIVE.”


Hebraic Roots Bible 2012 – “that it was a thing, and is not, YET NOW IS.”



Many Foreign Language Bibles also say “AND YET IS” including Martin Luther’s German bible of 1545 – “wenn sie sehen das Tier, daß es gewesen ist und nicht ist und dasein wird.” = “when they behold the beast that was and is not AND YET IS.”, the German Schlachter Bible 2000 – “das war und nicht ist und doch ist.” = “that was and is not AND YET IS.”, the Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras of 1569 “los moradores de la tierra, (cuyos nombres no están escritos en el libro de la vida desde la fundación del mundo,) se maravillarán viendo la bestia que era, y no es, AUNQUE ES.” = “AND YET IS”, the Spanish Cipriano de Valera in 1602, the 1865 version, the 1909 Reina Valera,  the 2010 Reina Valera Gómez translation and the Spanish Jubilee Bible 2010 – “se maravillarán cuando vean la bestia, que era y no es, AUNQUE ES”. = “AND YET IS.”


Other foreign language bibles that also say “the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.” are the Italian Diodati of 1649 – “la bestia che era, e non è, e pure è.” the New Diodati of 1991, the French Martin 1744 – “qui n’est plus, et qui toutefois est.” and French Ostervald 1996, the Hungarian Karoli Bible – “a mely vala és nincs, noha van.” = “which was, and which is not, AND YET IS.”, the Russian Synodal Version – “что зверь был, и нет его, и явится.” = “the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.”, the Ukranian Bible – “що звірина була і нема, і з’явиться.” = “the beast that was and is not, AND YET IS.” and the Romanian Fidela Bible 2014 – “când ei privesc fiara care era şi nu este, şi totuşi este.” = “when they behold the beast that was and is not, AND YET IS.” the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible – “ dat was en niet is, hoewel het is.” = “that was and is not, EVEN THOUGH IT IS.”, the Czech Kralicka Bible – “ a není, avšak jest.”, the Ukranian Bible – “ і нема його, хоч і єсть.” = “and is not, ALTHOUGH IT IS.”, the  Finnish Bible 1776 – “joka oli ja ei ole, vaikka hän kuitenkin on.”, the Afrikaans Bible 1953 – “sal hulle verwonder as hulle die dier sien wat was en nie is nie, alhoewel hy is.” = “the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.”, the Modern Greek Bible – “βλεποντες το θηριον, το οποιον ητο και δεν ειναι, αν και ηναι.”


Again, it is the reading found in the printed Greek texts of Erasmus 1517, Stephanus 1550, Beza 1598, Elziever 1633 and Scrivener 1894. 


Revelation 17:8 “and yet is”  


John Gill comments: “when they beheld the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS; the Roman empire in glory, under the emperors, destroyed by the Goths, and revived in the Papacy. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out the last clause, “AND YET IS.”


Matthew Henry – “This beast was, and is not, AND YET IS,  that is, it was a seat of idolatry and persecution and is not, that is, not in the ancient form, which was pagan AND YET IT IS, it is truly the seat of idolatry and tyranny, though of another sort and form.”


Matthew Poole – “Was, and is not; was of old, in Rome’s pagan state, and is not, not in that form, not now pagan; AND YET IS  (as is said in the close of the verse) the same in another form, idolatrous and persecuting.”


John Trapp Complete Commentary – “AND YET IS” –  In regard of that imperial power then extant, which the pope should afterwards take to himself.


Albert Barne’s Notes on the Whole Bible – “When they behold the beast that was, and is not, AND YET IS.” – That is, the power that once was mighty; that had declined to such a state that it became, as it were, extinct; and that was revived again with so much of its original strength, that it might be said that it still exists. The fact of its being revived in this manner, as well as the nature of the power itself, seemed suited to excite this admiration.”


Adam Clarke’s Commentary – “In the preceding part of the verse the beast is considered in three states, as that which was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit; here a fourth is introduced, AND YET IS. This is added to show that, though the Latins were subjugated by the Romans, nevertheless the Romans themselves were Latins; for Romulus the founder of their monarchy, was a Latin; consequently that denominated in St. John‘s days the Roman empire was, in reality, the Latin kingdom; for the very language of the empire was the Latin, and the Greek writers, who lived in the time of the Roman empire, expressly tell us that those formerly called Latins are now named Romans. The meaning of the whole verse is therefore as follows: The corrupt part of mankind shall have in great admiration the Latin empire yet in futurity, which has already been, but is now extinct, the Romans having conquered it; AND YET IS STILL IN BEING;  for, though the Latin nation has been subjugated, its conquerors are themselves Latins.”



William Burkitt Expository Notes – “How the Spirit of God was pleased to open this mystery, which indeed is the only vision of this nature expounded throughout the whole book. He begins first with a description of the beast, affirming that he was, AND YET IS;  as if he had said, “The Roman empire was once Pagan, now is not Pagan, but Christian, and yet is as idolatrous now as it was of old; the same it was, only in another form.” 

William Godbey’s Commentary – “The beast was, is not, AND YET IS.” This wonderful beast was in the capacity of pagan Rome, but having been destroyed A.D. 476, he is not in that form. Since the pope succeeded Caesar on the throne and perpetuated the empire, THE BEAST IS YET IN THE CAPACITY OF PAPAL ROME.”

You can either choose to believe “the scholars” who constantly disagree with each other about what should be in “The Bible” or not, or you can choose to believe that the sovereign God of the universe has indeed been faithful to preserve His inspired words through history and that there really does exist a Bible on this earth that IS the complete, inspired, infallible and 100% true words of the living God.  All the evidence – internal, historical and spiritual – points to this one Book and one Standard of absolute final written authority as being the only true Holy Bible by which all others are to be measured – the King James Holy Bible.

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail…”  Isaiah 34:16