From: George Athas (
Date: Sun Mar 15 1998 - 17:05:00 EST

Edgar Foster wrote:

> Hi all,
> (1.) Does LATREUO have any priestly connotations in the book of Revelation? (e.g., Rev. 22:3)
> (2.) Can LATREUO be rendered to humans?


(1) I don't think LATREUW has any *overt* priestly connotation, either in Revelation or
elsewhere. It is a general term used to describe the service of anyone to another. Thus, priests
do "serve" (LATREUW), but so do other folk. A word that would have a specific functionary
meaning, such as the service of a priest, would be the word LEITOURGEW. It has the sense of
rendering an official service. Actually, this is the word the LXX uses of the priests in their
specific service to God (cf Num 4:26; 18:7). To illuminate, the Hebrew does not have separate
words for ordinary service and official service - they are the same term (from the root (BD - "to
serve"). Thus both priest and layman alike "serve". However, the Greek does make a distinction at
times in that when the subject is a priest serving at the altar, the Greek word for official
service (LEITOURGIA) is often used to distinguish it from every other service. So, for
Revelation, the word LATREUW does not necessarily refer to *priestly* service, though it may have
it in mind.

(2) Yes, LATREUW can be rendered to humans. The most common such usage in the Bible is in the
term ERGON LATREUTON ("work of service"), referring to the work done by people during the 6 days
of work and of which they are to abstain from on the Sabbath and on festivals. However, in the
Bible the verb almost always refers to service/worship of divine beings. In common Greek usage
outside the Bible, though, it also referred to ordinary service such as that performed by a slave
for his master, or by a hired man.

Best regards!
George Athas
 PhD (Cand.), University of Sydney
 Tutor of Hebrew, Moore Theological College
Phone: 0414 839 964 ICQ#: 5866591

(Visit the Tel Dan Inscription Website at)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:10 EDT