Re: A Question on Mathew 18.18

From: Brian Lantz (
Date: Sat Aug 22 1998 - 00:27:41 EDT

If I may,

Ward Powers wrote:

> >>First, the grammar appears to me to be very odd, seeing that a future
> >>indicative is followed by a perfect participle. Is this passage's grammar as
> >>unusual as it seems to be?
> Does anyone know the answer to this question from
> other helps and aids they have available?

After playing around with BibleWorks and getting no where, good old A.T. Robertson in
his Grammar of the GNT shed quite a bit of light on this discussion, p361:

"The future perfect was always a very rare tense with only two active forms of any
frequency (from histemi and thanao) The middle and passive could make a better
showing. In Heb 8.11 eidesousin is probably future active (from LXX), and in Lu
19.40 some MSS, but not aleph B or L , give kekradzontai (cf. LXX).. In Heb 2.13
(another quotation from the LXX) we have the periphrastic form esoma pepoithos. The
future perfect passiave ocurs in the N.T. only in the periphrastic form in such
examples as estai dedmenon (our passage), estai lelumena (again), esontai
diamemerismenoi (Lk 12.52) ... In the nature of the case the future perfect would not
often be needed. This periphrsitc future perfect is found as early as HOMER! The
papyri likewise show some examples.

In other words, this usage of the periphrastic is very old and well established and
distinctive in tense form, cf. the universal usage of gegraptai (it is written).
Without getting bound up in our theological shoe strings before gain a clear concept
of what the text has to say, and ultimately what the Holy Spirit has to communicate,
let's look at the usage from the standpoint of the speaker, the Lord. He envisions
the Apostles acting pastoral, perhaps even teaching capacity future to the comments
he is presently making and says whatever you do, the same thing will have already
occurred in heaven.
Let's think about this a moment. They have extraordinary powers and responsibilities
to celebrate the introduction of a brand new age, and the Lord comes along and says,
"it already occurred in heaven". In otherwords, the Apostles are not the originator
of these actions, less clearly defined by "binding and releasing".

On a more theological plain, I believe this choice of words has something to do with
the personal destiny and eternal consequences to their congregations which the
Apostles no doubt would observe in part and :
a. be tempted to take credit for something they had a minor role in, failing to give
God the glory
b. be seriously trouble by what THEY perceive to be the consequences of their
ministry to certain individuals may be.

This passage is simply a warning not to do either, but merely be a spectator in God's
plan of grace that began long ago at the time of Creation and was finalized at the
Cross - the Apostles made absolutely no contribution to either event in their
inception or execution. As the received Christ, so need we all to "walk ye in him".


B.E. Lantz, Pastor (San Diego)

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