Re: Rev 20:4-5

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Sat Oct 18 1997 - 10:09:42 EDT

Paul Dixon wrote;

>First, how should we take EZHSAN ... EZHSAN (20:4-5)? Is it talking
>about physical life, or spiritual life? Furthermore, should the aorists
>be taken ingressively (they came to life) or constatively (they lived)?
>The two questions, of course, are not mutually exclusive. If we conclude
>spiritual life is in view, then we will probably also find constative
>aorists, whereas if physical life is the picture, then ingressive
>aorists. Conversely, if we take them as ingressive aorists, then we will
>probably find the reference to physical life; if constative aorists, then
>spiritual life. So, where do we start?
I am aware of the other posts on this subject. I am running about a day
behind in reading b-greek. I would like to raise only one issue, because
much of what I would say about the larger issues here are part and parcel
of my theology and not just a matter of language.

The contrast you make between "ingressive" and "constative" aorist confuses
me. "Constative" is a term that most grammars which use it define as the
use of the aorist that views the action in its entirety without emphasis on
the beginning or end. It may describe action that is momentary (Mt.8:3,
"He touched him."), or a series of events (Heb.11:13, "All these died in
faith."), an action of long duration (Rom. 5:14, "Death reigned from Adam
to Moses."), or of short duration, (Gal. 1:18, "I remained with him fifteen
days."). Others call this the "summary" aorist of the "historical." But I
cannot see the use in Rev. 20:4 for I do not see how the verb indicates the
whole event. "They came alive" makes good sense here, but I cannot see
here the action in its entirety unless you think the living ends with the
end of a literal 1000 years. Or, are you saying that the aorist can be seen
as durative action?

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