[b-greek] Heb.1:8 Is Jesus God or is God the Throne?

From: Wayne Leman (Wayne_Leman@SIL.ORG)
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 00:28:26 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harry W. Jones" <hjbluebird@aol.com>
> Dear B-Greekers,
> I could use some help on this. Most translations that I know of
> translate this as Jesus having a throne and being God. But the New
> World Translation (no I'm not a Jehovah Witiness) translates it as
> God being the throne without Jesus being God. The question is, could
> this passage be translated the NWT way?

It looks possible to me that hO QRONOS SOU hO QEOS can be translated with
"God" as either:

1. vocative ("your throne, O, God, is forever...", as in most English
versions), or
2. nominative subject of an equative construction ("God is your throne..."),
3. predicate nominative of an equative construction ("your throne is God...)

I just looked in a nice exegetical summary I have of Hebrews, written by the
Greek professor J. Harold Greenlee, and he points out the same options. If
you are commentary counting, option 1 wins, by far, but that could be
attributed to the theology of the commentators.

I am not Arian, either, but I think that we do need to recognize that all 3
exegetical options are possible here. To me it makes better theological
sense that God would be telling his messianic son that his throne will last
forever, since this seems to be a quote to that effect from the OT, and
there are other Bible passages that speak of the eternal throne of the

But the exegetical options are still there are cannot be ruled out purely on
syntactic or other linguistic grounds, as far as I can tell.

Wayne Leman
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