Re: Rev 20:4-5

From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Mon Oct 20 1997 - 06:31:58 EDT

Paul S. Dixon wrote,

<Yes, but if we broaden it a bit, I think the difficulty with the
<ingressive aorist becomes more evident. John says he saw TAS YUCAS ...
<that these YUCAS come alive? If we take YUCAS as "souls" (so most [all?]
<translations), then how is it that these souls, which are certainly
<already alive, come to life? Is this why somebody here said Carl C takes
<it as "corpses"? Now, I can see corpses coming alive, but not souls that
<were already alive. But, is "corpses" really the meaning here? I would
<like a little light on this one.

<On the other hand, if YUCAS is "souls," then a constative aorist EZHSAN
<makes good sense. John saw the souls of the beheaded saints. These
<souls were not dead. They were alive. In fact, they lived and reigned
<with Christ for a thousand years.

Dear Paul,

Much of the imagery of Revelation is taken from the OT, and this may help
us in our understanding of TAS YUCAS. In Rev 6:9 TAS YUCAS were seen
hUPOKATW TOU QUSIASTHRIOU. Why this position? Before we can interpret each
tableau of Revelation we must find its setting. If the altar in the temple
is the setting here, TAS YUCAS must be the blood of those being slaughtered
on the altar,because the blood of the sacrifices was poured out at the base
of the altar (PARA THN BASIN TOU QUSIASTHRIOU Lev 4:7). We also remeber
that THE BLOOD of Abel was crying for revenge (Gen 4:10). In the OT the
soul is mortal and it is, or is represented by the blood.

The nature of TAS YUCAS of Rev 20:4 is hardly different from those
mentioned in 6:9, and keeping in mind that the phrase is a part of a
LITERAL tableau which in turn has to be given a symbolic meaning, they need
not be anything else but the blood (representing the life or personality)
of those having been executed. The question of an immortal soul which is
important for a "constative" interpretation of EZHSAN is not for b-greek.
But in no way is it necessary to read this into TAS YUCAS, because there is
no passage in the NT which explicitly expresses another view of the soul
than the Hebrew one. The above interpretation is therefore an alternative.

Regarding the aorists, we must remeber that ZAW is a stative verb and
BASILEUW may be either stative or fientive. Very often the combination of
aorist and stative verb gives an ingressive meaning, but the object/person
having entered the state continues to be in the state. Applied to Rev 20:6,
this means that TAS YUCAS came to life and continued to live. Because their
coming to life is a prerequisite for their reigning for a thousand years, I
see no problem in taking EZHSAN as ingressive but EBASILEUSAN as constative.


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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