Does the Hebrew word "maarab" refer to the California and Hawaii?

The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" implicitly[1] claims that the Hebrew word "maarab" in the Bible means "far west" and often refers specifically to California and Hawaii, given it's geographical positions. Is this accurate?

when we examine biblical Hebrew and the INC's sources, we see that the INC is very misguided in claiming that "maarab" refers to California and Hawaii.

Dictionaries report "maarab" as meaning "west".

The INC has not attempted to provide any reasoning directly from Hebrew that "maarab" means far west. In the absense of any INC demonstration or citation, we will simply quote from Brown-Drivers-Brigg's and Strong's:

maarab: setting place, west, westward (Brown-Drivers-Brigg's)

maarab: in the sense of shading; the west (as the region of the evening sun): - west. (Strong's)

The phrase "far west" is not recognized outside of a regional context.

Few, if any, use the phrase "far west" in a global context to refer to a specific region. There is no such established use, but the INC often attempts to provide one by citing a certain Almanac[2] which lists Hawaii and California as part of the "far west".

What they fail to mention is that this Almanac is merely listing regions of the United States and which states are part of those regions. Examples of such regions are the "Plains" and the "Rocky Mountain" region. Here is the listing for the "Great Lakes" region:

Great Lakes:

When the INC cites this source to say that Hawaii and California are a part of the "far west", they are citing a source that only claims these states may be considered part of the "far west" in the context of the United States. In the context of the entire world, the phrase "far west" doesn't refer to the western United States.

The vast majority of Bible versions translate "maarab" as "west".

The INC quotes the Moffatt version of the Bible for verses that contain the word "maarab". The Moffatt translates "maarab" as far east, and it serves the theological motivations of the INC to use this version here where it is convenient for them.

However, the INC must answer why a rogue translation is more accurate than countless other Bible translations. Why is it that countless of Hebrew scholars translate "maarab" as "west", and only Moffatt, who didn't even intend a literal translation, use the phrase "far west"? The INC has never attempted to answer such a question. Indeed, they cannot.


The INC has no legitimate reason to believe that "maarab" refers to Califoria and Hawaii. The damage caused by the INC's poor use of scripture is only increased by their poor use of Almanacs. "maarab" does not refer to the western United States, it simply refers to the west of a given reference point.

The words of God are sweeter than honey (Psa 119:103). It is disrespectful to twist these words to serve one's own theology. It would be better to repent of this twisting of scripture and believe the true gospel so that God's wrath will be removed.

[1] "Implicitly", because the INC simply assumes this translation. Their effort to justify the word "far" is focused on "mizrach" as the "far east".

[2] The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1976, p. 88