>I was wondering if there is any sense of the imperative in the usage of
>the future tense.  For example, when Jesus speaks of obedience to his
>commandments when a believer loves him, the future tense is used (John
>14:15):  "you will obey" my commandments.
>Ian Brown.

 few notes from M. Zerwick, _Biblical Greek_ (Rome, 1963):

Generally on the future:
#279: The use of the future indicative in the NT has undergone Semitic
influence in three ways: a) it is sometimes used modally like the Semitic
form which often connotes only what may be, e.g., Mt. 7.4 PW=S  E)REI=S
TW=| A)DELFW=| SOU, which Luke 6, 42 renders PW=S DU/NASAI LE/GEIN...
Similarly Mt. 5.43 KAI\ MISH/SEIS TO\N E)XQRO/N SOU where the future may
indicate lawfulness ("you may hate")...

#280: Much more frequently, and in the legal language of the OT almost
always, the future is used as a categorical imperative, as in the place
just cited: A)GAPH/SEIS TO\N PLHSI/ON SOU, or Mt. 5.21 O)U FONEU/SEIS, cf.
verses 27 and 33, or Mt. 21.13 "my house shal be called a house of prayer"
where KLHQH/SETAI in accordance with the Hebrew use of the corresponding
verb is practically equivalent to E)/STAI: "shall be and shall be
acknowledged by"

However, John 14.15 is a conditional sentence and it is not clear that any
of the above need apply, rather:

#320:  C) Eventual ("probable") conditions of the future: a future
eventuality...is expressed by E)A/N  with the subjunctive in the protasis,
the apodosis being free to to use any form permitted by the circumstances
of the expression; e.g., Mt. 21.3 Our Lord sends two disciples to bring him
the ass and foal for His entry into Jerusalem, adding "and if anyone says
(E)A/N...E)/PH|) anything to you, you shall say (E)REI=TE)..." ...This type
of condition is not really distinct from the type E [General (universal)
condition], as may be seen by posing the question to which type one is to
assign John 14.15 E)A\N A)GAPA=TE/ ME, TA\S E)NTOLA\S THRH/SETE or (all the
more as the subject is indefinite) verse 23 of the same chapter: E)A/N TIS

What Zerwick seems to be saying in this last point is that there is no real
difference between saying, e.g.,  "if you love me you will keep my
commandments"  (eventual condition) and "if anyone loves me he keeps my
commandments" (general condition). 

Inasmuch as elsewhere the imperative is used in conditional sentences when
such a meaning is desired, e.g., Mt. 4.3, Luke 22.42, I don't see any
reason to treat John 14.15 as anything other than an 'eventual condition'.
To argue for an imperative sense in the apodosis, one would have at least
to show why the writer would opt against an imperative form as well as why
the `eventual condition' sense is inappropriate.

What do you think??

A. Doval

Br. Alexis Doval, FSC
Religious Studies Department
P.O. Box 5150
St. Mary's College
Moraga, California  94575

Tel: (510)631-4091
Internet: adoval@galileo.stmarys-ca.edu