Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Object of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 18th, 2014, 1:55 pm

Catherine Brown wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Revelations 22:33 (part) wrote:καὶ οἱ δοῦλοι αὐτοῦ λατρεύσουσιν αὐτῷ,

In short, the situation is that because we know that the lamb refers to Jesus,
How do you know for sure that the lamb refers to jesus and not a follower of his, one of his lambkins?
Why didnt the writer use the masculine lamb instead of the neuter?

Isn't that an assumption based on theology and your personal understanding and not on the actual greek?

I don't believe this is the case at all but explaning that will have me delve into theology, which I'm not going to do :)
"Lamb" (αρνιον) is clearly throughout Revelation a symbolic reference to Jesus:


ἀρνίου in SBLGNT

Revelation 5:8
Revelation 6:16
Revelation 7:9
Revelation 7:14
Revelation 12:11
Revelation 13:8
Revelation 14:10
Revelation 15:3
Revelation 17:14
Revelation 19:7
Revelation 19:9
Revelation 21:9
Revelation 21:14
Revelation 21:27
Revelation 22:1
Revelation 22:3


Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:50 PM February 18, 2014.



As for the word itself:

ἀρνίον, ου, τό dim. of ἀρήν, but no longer felt to be such in NT times. (Lysias et al.; pap since III B.C., e.g. BGU 377, 2; 7; PStras 24, 7f; PGen 68, 7; LXX [rare]; Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 362; Jos., Ant. 3, 221; 226; Just., D. 72, 2f; Mel., P. 63, 454 [both Jer 11:19]) a sheep of any age, sheep, lamb, in our lit. only in imagery: in Rv a designation of Christ 5:6, 8, 12f; 6:1, 16; 7:9f, 14, 17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1, 4, 10; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7, 9; 21:9, 14, 22f, 27; 22:1, 3; cp. the parody figure 13:11. τὰ ἀ. (as πρόβατα elsewh.) of the Christian community J 21:15. As a type of weakness 2 Cl 5:2ff. Cp. Boll 45, 6; FSpitta, Streitfragen d. Gesch. Jesu 1907, 174; HWindisch, D. messian. Krieg 1909, 70; ELohmeyer, Hdb., exc. on Rv 5:6; THoltz, D. Christologie der Apokalypse, diss. Halle ’59.—B. 159. DELG s.v. ἀρήν. M-M. TW.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Object of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 18th, 2014, 8:35 pm

Catherine Brown wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Revelations 22:33 (part) wrote:καὶ οἱ δοῦλοι αὐτοῦ λατρεύσουσιν αὐτῷ,

In short, the situation is that because we know that the lamb refers to Jesus,
How do you know for sure that the lamb refers to jesus and not a follower of his, one of his lambkins?
Why didnt the writer use the masculine lamb instead of the neuter?

Isn't that an assumption based on theology and your personal understanding and not on the actual greek?

I don't believe this is the case at all but explaning that will have me delve into theology, which I'm not going to do :)
Yes, there was an assumption on my part - the equivalence of
John 1:29 wrote:Ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ
and the ἀρνίον here. But as noted there are other verses that suggest that.

Actually, if you want to look at the Greek (of this verse), without interpretation (or reading it together with other understandings from other verses), there is also the possibility that the object of λατρεύσουσιν, the αὐτῷ could refer to ὁ θρόνος "the Throne" (capitalisation intended).
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 19th, 2014, 6:04 am

Scott Lawson wrote:Barry,
It seems to me that τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀρνίου acts as a single grammatical unit and serves specifically to modify ὁ θρόνος. To single out ἀρνίου breaking it out of its primary function in the noun phrase and elevating it to a subject seems odd to me. If anything the whole grammatical unit of τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀρνίου should be considered as the antecedent...but again it seems odd to me because I would expect the antecedent to be in the nominative.

By pointing out that we would expect a subject that is worthy of λατρεύω as an antecedent to αὐτῷ was in no way drawn from theological consideration but rather semantic. The verb itself implies that it is a person that is served/worshipped. I'm still at a loss as to why a 3rd person pronoun in an oblique mood would have its antecedent also in an oblique mood. In 21:23 we have the statement:

καὶ ἡ πόλις οὐ χρείαν ἔχει τοῦ ἡλιου οὐδὲ τῆς σελήνης ἵνα φαίνωσιν ἀὐτῇ,

Here we see that the antecedent to 3rd person dative pronoun ἀὐτῇ is ἡ πόλις which is in the nominative. This is what I expect. Can you show me a clear example of a 3rd person oblique pronoun with an antecedent in an oblique mood?

I'm beginning to think that the referent for αὐτῷ in λατρεύσουσιν αὐτῷ is unstated and to be understood from the context.
Again, you haven't really explained what you mean by "as a single grammatical unit. The two nouns have clearly distinct referents and both are dependent genitives on θρόνος, which I take as a kind of distributive singular, that both dependent genitives each have their own throne (although a shared throne could also be possible). And what does the case of the antecedent have to do with the speaker/writer's decision to reference the antecedent using a pronoun? You seem to have some sort of rule in mind which doesn't actually exist. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of examples in the NT where a pronoun refers to a noun in the oblique case, and it's up to you to prove otherwise if you think so.

And to Stephen, again it's a matter of probability and how the text would normally be understood. A pronoun normally refers to its nearest possible antecedent. That's standard syntax. The farther back a noun in context, the less likely that it will be the antecedent. Not impossible, but the burden of proof is on the one arguing otherwise. But let me add that your point regarding the Greek of Revelation made in the other thread is quite well taken.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

The closest or a very good reason to do otherwise

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 19th, 2014, 6:30 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:And to Stephen, again it's a matter of probability and how the text would normally be understood. A pronoun normally refers to its nearest possible antecedent. That's standard syntax. The farther back a noun in context, the less likely that it will be the antecedent. Not impossible, but the burden of proof is on the one arguing otherwise.
If the "Throne" was the central theme of the passage, and continual reference was being made to it, then it could be that the "Throne" is what we are talking about. But that is not the case here. The closest person that could be worshipped here is the lamb, so without a good reason to do otherwise, we would understand that. The Book of Revelation is one of the Books that were given for public reading. We read it and we understand it as best as language can allow us to, through human language.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:But let me add that your point regarding the Greek of Revelation made in the other thread is quite well taken.
If one wants to understand the what and how of the Book of Revelation, one needs to get into the Greek text.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 19th, 2014, 9:47 am

Scott Lawson wrote:The verb itself implies that it is a person that is served/worshipped. I'm still at a loss as to why a 3rd person pronoun in an oblique mood would have its antecedent also in an oblique mood. In 21:23 we have the statement:

καὶ ἡ πόλις οὐ χρείαν ἔχει τοῦ ἡλιου οὐδὲ τῆς σελήνης ἵνα φαίνωσιν ἀὐτῇ,

Here we see that the antecedent to 3rd person dative pronoun ἀὐτῇ is ἡ πόλις which is in the nominative. This is what I expect. Can you show me a clear example of a 3rd person oblique pronoun with an antecedent in an oblique mood?
Let me side step this you-show-me-your's-first impasse, and talk about the structure of the quote from Revelations 21:23.

In the phrase you have signaled out for consideration, the αὐτῇ does not refer to σελήνη, NOT because it is in the genitive case, but because σελήνη fulfills another role in the syntax and so find itself in the genitive case . The construction οὐ χρείαν ἔχει τοῦ ἡλίου οὐδὲ τῆς σελήνης is like what you are calling a syntactic unit.

Looking at the deeper grammar - not just the forms - what is the meaning of ἵνα φαίνωσιν here? There are two possiblities. The first is there is a plural subject doing the shining on something (the city), or that it is a construction with the equivalent force of the passive.
  • Are there two or more things here that could shine (remember it's geocentric / pre-Copernicus)? Yes, the moon and the sun. [So here it probably does have external subjects].
  • What case are the subjects in? Nominative.
  • What case were they in in the immediately preceeding clause? Genitive.
  • Why were they in the Genitive? Because that is what the construction / syntax if that part of the verse dictated they should be in.
  • Why are they understood in the nominative with ἵνα φαίνωσιν, because that is what is needed in that part of the phrase.
The subject of all verbs is in the nominative case.
  • What case is the -ει ending of ἔχει? Nominative.
  • Why is it nominative? Because all subjects are nominative.
  • What case does πόλις have to be to be the subject of ἔχει? Nominative.
  • Why is it nominative here? Because it is the subject of ἔχει.
  • [Is πόλις nominative so that it can be the antecedent of αὐτῇ? Sorry, what... No.]


Pronouns refer to nouns. They agree in number and gender, but do not need to agree in case.
  • Why is αὐτῇ feminine? Because it agree with πόλις in gender.
  • Why is αὐτῇ singular? Because it agree with πόλις in number.
  • Why is αὐτῇ dative? Because it follows φαίνειν.
  • [Is αὐτῇ in an oblique case so that it can refer to πόλις in the nominative? Sorry, what... No. ]
  • [How do we know that it refers to πόλις? Because it agrees in number and gender.]
For what it's worth about oblique being the anteceedent of an oblique...
Matthew 1:21 wrote:Ἰωσήφ, υἱὸς Δαυίδ, μὴ φοβηθῇς παραλαβεῖν Μαριὰμ τὴν γυναῖκά σου· τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου.
Accusative --> Dative.
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Scott Lawson
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Re: Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Scott Lawson » February 19th, 2014, 2:07 pm

I concede that an oblique pronoun does not have to have its antecedent in the nominative case. With a little thinking I was able to construct a sentence that disproves my argument:
Λαλῶμεν νῦν περί τῆς δικαιοσύνης τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τῆς ἁγιωσύνης αὐτοῦ.

Regarding the grammatical unit "τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀρνίου", I see καὶ as a coordinating conjunction that joins the two noun phrases into one adjectival phrase that modifies the noun ὁ θρόνος. And I take it to mean one throne that is possessed by both God and the Lamb. Since the entire noun phrase functions as a grammatical unit (an adjectival phrase) there is difficulty in singling out a referent for a 3rd pers. sing. pronoun.

I am enjoying this discussion and very much appreciate your help, Barry and Stephen. See! Another grammatical unit!; Barry and Stephen! All will benefit by his (should be your as in y'all's shouldn't it?) comments.
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Scott Lawson

Scott Lawson
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Re: Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Scott Lawson » February 19th, 2014, 2:48 pm

Hmmmm...? Perhaps it's more accurate to say that τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀρνίου functions as a determiner limiting the possession of the throne rather than an adjectival phrase.
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Scott Lawson

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 19th, 2014, 7:28 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:I am enjoying this discussion and very much appreciate your help, Barry and Stephen. See! Another grammatical unit!; Barry and Stephen!
That is determined by context. If this discussion were about the use of interlinears, for example, the unit "Barry and Stephen" would have a different significance.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Scott Lawson
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Re: Antecedant of LATREUO of Rev. 22:3

Post by Scott Lawson » February 19th, 2014, 11:29 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:That is determined by context. If this discussion were about the use of interlinears, for example, the unit "Barry and Stephen" would have a different significance.
Sorry...what? No! ;-)

It wouldn't change the fact that a plural pronoun would be needed. And one or the other referents (Barry or Stephen) would need to be singled out (restated) for focus before a singular pronoun would make sense.
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Scott Lawson

Stephen Hughes
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αὐτός and ἐκεῖνος, and other pronominals...

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 20th, 2014, 2:30 am

Scott Lawson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:That is determined by context. If this discussion were about the use of interlinears, for example, the unit "Barry and Stephen" would have a different significance.
Sorry...what? No! ;-)

It wouldn't change the fact that a plural pronoun would be needed. And one or the other referents (Barry or Stephen) would need to be singled out (restated) for focus before a singular pronoun would make sense.
:lol:

In English yes, but in Greek, as you know, there are range of 3rd person pronouns.

To give a topical example. It would be good English to say;
  • Barry and Stephen were talking about the value of interlinears,
    Barry said their were harmful, while Stephen said they were useful."
  • ...the former said they were harmful, while the later said they were useful."
but Greek might be
  • Barry and Stephen were talking about the value of interlinears,
    αὐτός said they were useful, but ἐκεῖνος said they were harmful."
My impression is that using both these pronouns together naturally (habitually) produces a chiastic structure, but does anyone know (empirically) whether that is true or not?

For the topic of reading widely,. where there is an agreement, that could be expressed in a number of ways;
  • Barry and Stephen agree that reading widely outside the NT corpus is useful. [choice of verb to express agreement]
    Barry and Stephen both said... [οἱ ἀμφότεροι ]
    Barry and Stephen were talking about ... . They both said ... [οἱ δύο]
    ... They have read widely themselves. [The everyday garden variety pronoun]
With reference to this verse, and the whole of the Book of Revelations as to whether that distinction is significant or not. The distinction between αὐτός and ἐκεῖνος is not used in the syntax of the book, and in interpreting the Book, we would have to make a value judgement about why that was so. Not all speakers of langugage use all tense of the verb, nor all the possible vocabulary, nor all conjunctions, nor all.... when that happens, sometimes things are expressed using a word which
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