Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23

From: Stephen Carlson (
Date: Fri Sep 01 1995 - 16:57:37 EDT

Bruce Terry wrote:
> I've been working on a reply to Jan Haugland's Tueday's reply to a post of
> mine, but have run on a snag that I would appreciate some feedback on.
> It looks to me like Jesus is saying that if at the time of the tribulation in
> vv. 15-22 false Christs and false prophets should arrive, they should not be
> believed. I doubt that he is saying that they should not believe false
> Christs and false prophets once the tribulation is finished, although that is
> how I understand the lexicons to be taking it. Historically (i.e. relying on
> Josephus), the former case was the situation, unless this is a veiled
> reference to Bar Kokhba.
> What do you think? Does TOTE mean "at that time" or "next in order/time" in
> Matt. 24:23? Can all three major English lexicons be wrong?

In Mt24:23, I see TOTE meaning "next in order/time" in that
people will announce false Messiahs (vv23-24) after people flee
to the hills (v16 TOTE), after they see the desolating sacrifice
(v15 hOTAN) which starts the tribulation (v21). Even though
TOTE should mean "thereupon" in v23, v29 puts all the events of
vv15-28 during the tribulation. So, I think Jesus is saying
that they should not believe false prophets once the tribulation
has *begun* not finished as suggested.

This meaning is typical for Matthew. TOTE is used about 90
times in Matthew compared to six in Mark and fifteen in Luke.
As BAGD and BDF both note, the use of TOTE to mean 'thereupon'
is unclassical but "particularly characteristic of Mt" [BDF
#479(2)]. This usage has been identified as an Aramaism (see
LXX for ':EDAYIN, Dn2:19 25 etc. Ezr4:23 5:4 9 etc.; or for
B."'DAYIN, Dn2:14 35 46 3:13 19 21 26 Ezr4:24 5:2 6:1). So,
this meaning is not surprising. I also checked the Vulgate,
but Jerome has TUNC, which means either "at that time" or

By the way, Mt24:23 is one of the five places that Matthew has
a parallel to Mark's TOTE.

Stephen Carlson

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