From: clayton stirling bartholomew (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jul 26 2000 - 14:46:38 EDT
on 07/26/00 4:27 AM, Lira wrote:
> I studied a little of biblical Greek some years ago and I would appreciate
> your help in clarifying a text for me. I have a doubt about the translation of
> Rev. 21:3, 10. According to the translation of our Bibles, the idea is that
> John sees the city in the moment it is descending from heaven. However, in
> Rev. 3:12, where a similar phrase is used, the idea cannot be that. The three
> passages seem to use the same verbal tense (aorist?), although there are some
> slight differences in the construction, and I don't know the implication of
> these differences.
> My question is: Is it possible that John sees the New Earth with the New
> Jerusalem already there, instead of the idea that he sees it in the moment it
> is coming down from heaven? If he sees it at the moment it is coming down, why
> would the angel take him to a high mountain (v. 10)? My opinion is that the
> city is already there and the angel takes him to a high mountain so that he
> can have a panoramic view of the city from ABOVE. And the expression
> "KATABAINOUSA(N) EK TOU OURANOU APO TOU QEOU" would just be a DESCRIPTION of
> the city: "The New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven from God".
> Is this interpretation possible?
The expression "KATABAINxxx EK TOU OURANOU is used in:
Rev. 3:12 KAINHS IEROUSALHM
Rev. 10:1 ANGELOS
Rev. 13:13 PUR
Rev. 16:21 XALAZA MEGALH
Rev. 18:1 ANGELOS
Rev. 20:1 ANGELOS
Rev. 20:9 PUR
Rev. 21:2 KAINHS IEROUSALHM
Rev. 21:10 KAINHS IEROUSALHM
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when looking over these texts.
EK TOU OURANOU is semantically ambiguous. It can have the sense "coming out
of the sky." In cases where there is the additional APO TOU QEOU that needs
to be taken into consideration.
It seems semantically probable that ANGELOS, PUR, and XALAZA MEGALH are all
seen descending. This would lend support to the traditional translations of
Rev. 3:12, 21:2,10.
You ask if your reading is possible. I think that it is possible. We could
read KATABAINxxx EK TOU OURANOU as if it were functioning adjectivally
limiting KAINHS IEROUSALHM. In other words KATABAINxxx EK TOU OURANOU might
be understood as a quality possessed by the city. A city of the type which
comes down . . . . However, given the pattern of usage demonstrated in the
passages where ANGELOS, PUR, and XALAZA MEGALH are seen KATABAINxxx EK TOU
OURANOU, I would be prone to go with the traditional reading.
For all you folks who are intrigued by questions about constituent order,
take a look at the position of EIDON in Rev. 21:2a. David Aune* makes the
comment "of thirty-three uses of the phrase KAI EIDON in Revelation this is
the only instance in which the object of the vision, in the accusative, is
inserted between KAI and EIDON.
Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062
*David Aune, Revelation v. 52c WBC., page 1120.
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