Saturday, December 03, 2016


One gentleman, with whom I once discussed the meaning of PAROUSIA, made these remarks:

prior to Darby, the common translation of parousia in the Bibles was coming. After Darby, a few men, here and there, began to translate parousia as presence, among them, Benjamin Wilson in the Emphatic Diaglott or whatever was his translation back in the 1800s. This was still a strongly "minority" translation. However, there were some 2nd Adventists, who, having failed again in predicting the return of Jesus, gravitated to the newer translation of parousia as presence, as in, "invisible presence," so as to explain their latest failed prediction of the return of Jesus in 1874.


BDAG is the new lexicon that was formerly BAGD. Admittedly, BDAG does say that EPIFANEIA is used as a technical term that refers to "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known." But if you consult entry 1b (or its equivalent in the older BAGD), you will find out that the Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich's Lexicon associates EPIFANEIA vis-à-vis the "manifestation" of Christ with a time of "appearing in judgment." One also finds information about 2 Thess. 2:8 under this lexical entry.

While this same reference work does say that PAROUSIA can denote Christ's Messianic Advent in glory when he comes to judge the world at the end of the age, it also possibly indicates that there is some type of distinction between PAROUSIA and EPIFANEIA as revealed in 2 Thess. 2:8. The EPIFANEIA seems to take place during the PAROUSIA and is actually connected with the divine meting out of judgment; PAROUSIA, however, does not seem confined to this period of divine judgment. It could be an extended period of time in which Christ rewards his servants and prepares for the day of judgment against his enemies (Matthew 24:37-39; Revelation 11:15-19).

The last sentence represents my perspective on the issue.

1 Enoch 14, Ezekiel 1:1-28, and Daniel 7:9-10ff

1 Enoch 14:

13 Violently agitated and trembling, I fell upon my face. In the vision I looked.

14 And behold there was another habitation more spacious than the former, every entrance to which was open before me, erected in the midst of a vibrating flame.

15 So greatly did it excel in all points, in glory, in magnificence, and in magnitude, that it is impossible to describe to you either the splendour or the extent of it.

16 Its floor was on fire; above were lightnings and agitated stars, while its roof exhibited a blazing fire.

17 Attentively I surveyed it, and saw that it contained an exalted throne;

18 The appearance of which was like that of frost; while its circumference resembled the orb of the brilliant sun; and there was the voice of the cherubim.

19 From underneath this mighty throne rivers of flaming fire issued.

20 To look upon it was impossible.

21 One great in glory sat upon it:

22 Whose robe was brighter than the sun, and whiter than snow.

23 No angel was capable of penetrating to view the face of Him, the Glorious and the Effulgent; nor could any mortal behold Him. A fire was flaming around Him.

24 A fire also of great extent continued to rise up before Him; so that not one of those who surrounded Him was capable of approaching Him, among the myriads of myriads (22) who were before Him. To Him holy consultation was needless. Yet did not the sanctified, who were near Him, depart far from Him either by night or by day; nor were they removed from Him. I also was so far advanced, with a veil on my face, and trembling. Then the Lord with his own mouth called me, saying, Approach hither, Enoch, at my holy word.

Revelation 4:1-11 is like Ezekiel 1:1-28 (Davis); 1 Enoch 14 also resembles Ezekiel 1:28 and Dan. 7:9-10.

Source for the comparisons: Christopher A. Davis, Revelation, Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 2000, page 163.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

More About the Condition of the Dead from the Tanakh and NT (A Dialogue)

Something I once wrote to a Catholic gentleman:

How do you know that Jesus was employing "phenomenological language" in Jn 11:11-14? The metaphor of "sleep" for death was a common one that the ancient Greeks also utilized. We even find David using this metaphor in Ps 13:3: "Consider and answer me, O Jehovah my God: Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death" (ASV). Dan 12:2 also enunciates the Hebrew understanding of death that is clearly consonant with Ps 146:3-4. This passage [Dan 12:2] foretells that "many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." This passage does not indicate that the writer is speaking phenomenologically.

In the NT, Jesus himself "awakened" Jairus' daughter in the presence of a
crowd composed of cynical observers who 'knew she was dead,' though Jesus
said she slept. The context of Luke 8:49-56 shows that the girl did not
simply "appear" to be sleeping; she was sleeping "the sleep of death." Her
spirit had gone out of her [as it were] and she was dead. In other words, she was
conscious of nothing at all (Job 3:11-19). But the young girl and Lazarus
were also resurrected or brought back to life by the Messiah of God. They did
not simply appear to be sleeping in death; they were sleeping the "sleep of death."

"For Sheol cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee: They that go down
into the pit cannot hope for thy truth" (Isa 38:18).

"O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my
prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of
trouble and my life draws near the grave. I am counted among those who go
down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. I am set apart with the
dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are
cut off from your care. You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest
depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all
your waves. You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me
repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with
grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you. Do you
show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you?
Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are
your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the
land of oblivion?" (Ps 88:1-12)

"And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to
their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:59 ASV).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Revelation 13:6

Rev. 13:6-καὶ ἤνοιξε τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ εἰς βλασφημίας πρὸς τὸν θεόν, βλασφημῆσαι τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν σκηνὴν αὐτοῦ, τοὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ σκηνοῦντας. (WH)

Brief Remarks: The "name" of God is blasphemed by the beast. What significance/meaning does "name" have in this verse? We also get a feel for how the verb σκηνόω can function and what the noun σκηνή may denote. See Daniel 7:25; 8:9-12; 11:36-39.

Compare Revelation 12:12 for John's utilization of σκηνόω.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Law (NOMOS)-Old Dialogue

Written years ago, but I wanted to post here for the archives and possible discussion.

Your question occasions an interesting word study of the term normally
translated "law." The Greek word I have in mind is nomos. This
significant lingual symbol comes from nenoma (the perfect middle voice
of nemo). The Greek scholar, Zodhiates, has a fine discussion on the
semantics of the substantive nomos. I would briefly like to review
and critique some of his comments.

For starters, Zodhiates writes that nomos can refer to "a law in
general." To substantiate this view, he cites Rom. 4:15; 5:13. Both of
these Scriptures are of interest in their own way. Rom. 4:15 speaks of
ho nomos orghn katergazetai, and it is clear from the context that the
apostle has in mind "the law," not just any law. Following this
statement, he does speak of "law" in a generic sense
(anarthrous nomos), then he adds that where there is no "law"
(generically)--there is "oude parabasis." As a disclaimer, let me also
point out the fact that anarthrousness alone does not tell us whether
Paul has "the law" in mind or "a law." This will become evident below.

Based on the foregoing, one might conclude that Paul is saying there
is no "sin" where there is no _nomos_. But is this really the case?
Please note that Paul employs parabasis--not hamartia--in Rom. 4:15.
What is the distinction between the two terms? Zodhiates writes that
parabasis is a "transgression, an act which is excessive. The
parabasis as the transgression of a commandment is more serious than
hamartia." Parabasis denotes an "overstepping of God's commandments.
In the NT, it refers to "stepping on" a clearly enunciated statute of
the Divine One. Thus, Rom. 4:15 is saying: 'where there is no
explicitly stated law, there can be no overstepping of the said
statute'. Therefore, my conclusion is that Paul does not mean, without
the Mosaic Law there is no sin (hamartia). Rom. 5:13 seems to militate
against such a notion: "For until the Law sin (hamartia) was in the
world, but sin (hamartia) is not charged against anyone when there is
no law. Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses,
even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the
parabasews by Adam." In line with these thoughts, I would also like
to address 1 John 3:4 in a future post.

To sum matters up, Christians are not under the law of Moses, but this
doesn't mean there is no such thing as sin in the Christian view. In
Rom. 3:27, Paul speaks of the "law of faith." Rom. 8:2 refers to "ho
nomos tou pneumatos." James also writes about the "law of a free
people" (James 1:25; 2:8, 12). Also, we must not forget Gal. 6:2,
which tells us that we are subject to the law of Christ. I therefore
conclude that Christians are under a different law, and not without
law _in toto_. This means that we are accountable to God for all of
our actions, and it seems to cast doubt on the idea of 'once saved,
always saved'. How beautiful the refrain: "ti oun hamrthswmen hoti ouk
esmen hupo nomon alla hupo xarin mh genoito" (Rom. 6:15).

Friday, November 25, 2016

C. John Collins Discusses "in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17): See Link

From my perspective, it's possible that "in him" could have the same meaning at Col. 1:16 and v. 17.

Onoma May Sometimes Mean Authority

ONOMA spoken about in Mt. 28:19 evidently does not refer to a rigid designator such as YHWH. Rather, ONOMA in this instance evidently signifies "authority":

"The name of Jesus is the essential part of it [the
Matthean formula] as is shown in the Acts. Trine
immersion is not taught as the Greek Church holds and
practices, baptism in the name of the Father, then of
the Son, then of the Holy Spirit. The use of name
(ONOMA) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the
papyri for power or authority" (Robertson's Word

Moulton-Milligan supplements Robertson's comments:

"The [papyrological] usage [of EIS ONOMA] is of
interest in connexion with Mt 28:19, where the meaning
would seem to be 'baptized into the possession of the
Father, etc'" (page 451).

M-M acknowledge the meaning "office" or authority for ONOMA too.

See Mt. 6:9

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New Names in Scripture (Edit of Material That Originally Appeared in My Dissertation)

In the Tanakh, names are directly associated with an individual's personality or quiddity (Borchert, John 1-11, 117). Isaiah 62:2 speaks about Israel acquiring a new name. The apocalyptic NT book of Revelation also contains references to Christians being given a new name by God or Christ (Revelation 2:17; 3:12; 14:1). Ben Witherington (Revelation, 104) suggests that the "new name" which the exalted Christ mentions in Revelation 2:17 "implies a new identity and being someone special in the kingdom." Significantly, the Platonic One purportedly transcends "all being, names and knowledge" (McLelland, God the Anonymous, 10). In the renowned Athenian's grand political dialogue, we read: "The good therefore may be said to be the source not only of the intelligibility of the objects of knowledge, but also of their being and reality; yet it is not itself that reality, but is beyond it, and superior to it in dignity and power" (Republic 509b). Nevertheless, compare Symposium 211a-b.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ephesians 4:11-16: Proleptic Application?

Some professed followers of Jesus think that Christian unity is proleptic; that is, they claim that doctrinal unity is not part of the "now," but ultimately belongs to the future "not yet." So it's believed that while Christians are not unified today, some are convinced they will be in the ESXATON. One Lutheran minister even told me that blacks and whites probably ought to have separate churches right now because racial unity in the church is proleptic, and besides, African Americans and Caucasians worship differently. Nevertheless, should we construe Eph. 4:11-16 in such a proleptic or anticipatory manner?

Possibly citing a Targumic-style rendition of Ps. 68:19, Paul applies the OT war song to the resurrected Christ while declaring that the Lord ascended on high and took some as captives, subsequently supplying gifts in men (Eph. 4:8). Who are these "gifts in men" and when would they appear?

The Apostle continues, telling us that these "gifts" (DOMATA) have already been imparted to the EKKLHSIA in the form of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. Other scriptural verses attest that God has given such men to the body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:28). But why did God bequeath these gifts to early Christian congregation? Why are these "gifts" now serving the Christian body? So that Christians may "all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full grown man, to the measure of the full stature of the Christ" (Eph. 4:13) When can we expect to see this unity among Christians to happen? Is it yet future? Or does God expect Christians to be unified right now?

The context suggests that God expects Christians to be united in the present (here and now). Paul exhorted the Ephesians in order that they might "use diligence to preserve the unity of the spirit by the uniting bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). And the oneness that currently should exist is equally stressed in Eph. 4:4-6. Col. 3:15 also teaches that Christians have been called in one body--James D.G. Dunn thinks that the "body" there is primarily the local congregation in Colossae; however, he makes this additional observation when offering commentary for 3:15: "But the same applies to the church now seen as the universal body of Christ (1:18a, 24; 2:19), a oneness which is itself an effect of the peace of Christ and which can only be sustained by that peace" (page 235): Dunn likewise invokes Eph. 4:3 to this effect.

For these and other reasons, I conclude that Eph. 4:11-16 is not proleptic. The unity mentioned in the passages is taking place now.