Saturday, December 08, 2012

Revelation 22:3 and Daniel 7:27

George W. Buchanan contends that the singular third person pronoun in Rev 22:3 (AUTWi) could refer to God or to the Lamb: he does not argue that the pronoun must refer to both referents or antecedents.

One line of reasoning that indicates God receives LATREIA, writes Buchanan, is the fact that the hOI DOULOI could potentially be priests of God, and then they would be rendering LATREIA to the God whom they serve as priests and "slaves" (Rev 1:5-6).

On the other hand, Buchanan continues, Dan 7:27 (LXX) shows that the present nations and governments will one day become "subject to the saints and, of course, also to their leader, the Son of Man, who is here [Rev 22:3] called the Lamb" (Buchanan 612ff).

Buchanan thus seems to argue that strictly speaking the "saints" (holy ones) of the Most High actually receive the honor and obedience mentioned at Dan 7:27; but it seems that he wants to suggest that by the nations subjecting themselves to the holy ones, they also by default render homage to the leader of the holy ones. In this regard, Buchanan may be correct. But this line of reasoning does not seem to demonstrate that the Son of Man is the one who receives LATREIA in Rev 22:3. LATREIA is evidently not mentioned in Dan 7:27.

As Buchanan continues, however, it becomes clear that he is not claiming that the Messiah technically is worshiped or is ever ontologically on par with the Divine One. He appeals to his notion of forensic agency in which one has a principal and a legal agent to establish this point.

The legal agent may receive deference that is really directed toward the principal. But this fact does not indicate that the legal agent is equal (ontologically) to the principal. The concept of legal agency may well illustrates the relationship between the Father and the son of God. At any rate, it is clear that Buchanan is in no way arguing that the Lamb receives worship as the Father receives worship (LATREIA). But as we have also established hitherto, God is the most likely referent of AUTWi in Rev 22:3. He is the one whose face will be seen by those who are part of the first resurrection (1 Jn 3:1-3; Rev 20:4-6). God likely is the object of priestly LATREIA.

As a side note: Edward J Young (The Prophecy of Daniel: A Commentary) writes that the antecedent of the pronoun in the latter part of Dan 7:27 "is people, not Most High."

Louis Hartman and Alexander Di Lella (Anchor Bible Commentary on Daniel) also note that the pronominal suffix of MALKUTEH refers to 'AM ('people') and not to the Most High. It thus seems possible that both the Hebrew text and the LXX say the "holy ones" are obeyed in Dan 7:27.

Source: Buchanan's Mellen Series Commentary on Revelation



FR said...

I think that the Lamb (the Lord Jesus) is jointly the recipient of latreuō in Revelation 22:3. Notice the "Him" found in the expression "of God and Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6) refers to the Lord Jesus in 20:4. This links with the construction found in Rev. 22:3 where the singular pronoun also encompasses the Lord Jesus. In addition to this the following are also noted:
1. "His servants" refers to the Father (Revelation 7:3) and to the Lord Jesus (Revelation 2:20).
2. "His face" refers to the Father (Matthew 5:8) and to the Lord Jesus (1 John 3:2).
3. "His name will be on their foreheads" refers to the Father and to the Lord Jesus (Revelation 14:1).
4. "The Lord God will illumine them" (Rev. 22:5) encompasses the Father and the Lord Jesus (Rev. 21:23; cf. Isaiah 60:19).

Edgar Foster said...

The "him" in Revelation 20:6 likely refers to Christ in the same verse. Why go back to Rev. 20:4 to find the antecedent? However, verse 4 does establish that the Christian priests and kings will reign with Christ, not with "God."

Rev. 22:3 could possibly encompass the Lord Jesus Christ, but I don't think it does. Rev. 22:5 suggests that the "Lord God" (Jehovah) is the pronoun's referent in 22:3, along with the "face" reference. See also Rev. 1:1.

Like other parts of the GNT, Revelation also speaks of God and Christ having servants, but the context indicates which person is under discussion. As for 1 John 3:2, check R.E. Brown, B.F. Westcott, and I.H. Marshall. They all point out that it's hard to say whether it's the Father's face or the face of Jesus mentioned in 1 John 3:2.


The 144,000 have both names on their foreheads, it's true, but that doesn't mean the same name is under consideration in Rev. 22.

Edgar Foster said...

David Aune seems to think that God is the referent of Rev. 22:3. He further writes concerning Rev. 22:4:

Reference to the seal of God on the foreheads of the 144,000 was made in 7:3 and 14:1; cf. 3:12 (see Comment there). The phrase is ambiguous since the pronoun αὐτοῦ, “his,” could refer to either God or the Lamb (Prigent, “Trace de liturgie,” 165– 72), or (less plausibly) to both (Holtz, Christologie, 202).

Aune, Dr. David. Revelation 17-22, Volume 52C (Word Biblical Commentary) (p. 1242). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

FR said...

"They all point out that it's hard to say whether it's the Father's face or the face of Jesus mentioned in 1 John 3:2."

"The phrase is ambiguous since the pronoun αὐτοῦ, “his,” could refer to either God or the Lamb..."

The above is further indication for a Trinitarian understanding of God. In the New Testament it is often ambiguous as to specifically whom is being referred to in the use of "Lord," several appellations, as well as in many pronouns.

Edgar Foster said...

Something to consider about 1 John 3:2 is that God is probably the subject because the verse speaks of Christians being God's children: νῦν τέκνα θεοῦ ἐσμέν

Seeing/not seeing God's face is a common theme in the Old Testament and GNT.

Third, ὅτι ἐὰν φανερωθῇ could be rendered, "when he appears" or "when it appears."

NET Bible: "We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him"

NET Bible Note:

Many take the understood subject (“he”) of φανερωθῇ (phanerōthē) as a reference to Jesus Christ, because the same verb was used in 2:28 in reference to the parousia (second advent). In the immediate context, however, a better analogy is ἐφανερώθη τί ἐσόμεθα (ephanerōthē ti esometha) in 3:2a. There the clause τί ἐσόμεθα is the subject of the passive verb: “what we shall be has not yet been revealed.” From a grammatical standpoint it makes better sense to see the understood subject of φανερωθῇ as “it” rather than “he” and as referring back to the clause τί ἐσόμεθα in 3:2a. In the context this makes good sense: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it shall be revealed, we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is.” This emphasizes the contrast in the verse between the present state (“not yet been revealed”) and the future state (“shall be revealed”) of believers, and this will of course take place at the parousia.

FR said...

Stephen S. Smalley: the exact phrase ἐὰν φανερωθῇ has been used to describe the "appearing" of Jesus in v 28; and there is no reason why ("to manifest") should not be used in a different (impersonal) sense in between, since the setting makes the meaning clear. (Notice, however, the possible ambiguity surrounding the use of ἐφανερώθη itself in v 2a.) (b) A reference to Christ in a passage dealing with God as Father (vv 1, 2a) is unlikely (cf. Schnackenburg, 170). But our analysis has suggested that John moves easily from the Father to the Son here; and there is a reverse movement in 2:29. In addition, the writer's christology is such that he does not make sharp distinctions between the persons of God and Jesus (see further the comment on 2:29). (c) The pronouns αὐτῷ and αὐτὸν in this part of the v ("we shall be like him, we shall see him") refer to God, not Jesus; and this supports the nonchristological tenor of this sentence (cf. Bengel, Gnomon 5, 126). Nonetheless, the likeness in question is probably to the Son, rather than to the Father (so Law, Tests, 387; see also the comment below). Cf. further Marshall, 172 n.29.
We assume, therefore, that ἐὰν φανερωθῇ alludes to the future parousia of Jesus Christ in glory at the end of time. (For the grammatical construction of ἐὰν φανερωθῇ, meaning "when," not "if," he appears, and for the idea of "parousia," see comment on 2:28.) This is part of a continuous "manifestation" of God's Son which began in the first Incarnation (1:2), is effective in the present (3:5, 8), and will be consummated in the future (2:28; 3:2).
At the moment of Christ's final "appearing," John assures his readers, all genuine believers will be revealed as being "like him (Jesus." As Law (Tests, 387), points out, the weight of NT teaching demands that the object of "vision ad assimilation" here should be understood as Christ, rather than God (cf. the Gr. of Col 3:4). Certainly the theme of "the imitation of Christ" is thoroughly Johannine (see the comment on 2:6; cf. also John 13:13-17). The phrase ὅμοιοι αὐτῷ ("like him") implies spiritual unity, but not complete identity, with Jesus (see on τέκνα θεοῦ, "God's children," in v 1). The expression grazes the edge of deification, but stops short of it. (Word Biblical Commentary: 1,2,3 John, pages 145-146)

Note also the following:

1. Colin Kruse: When Christ appears, the author says, 'we shall be like him.' (The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Letters of John, page 116).
2. D.A Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris: It is often argued that in the fourth gospel the eschatology is profoundly "realized" (i.e. people enjoy eternal life already), while in 1 John much more place is given to Jesus' future, personal coming (2:8; 3:2; 4:17) (An Introduction to the New Testament, page 448)

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for sharing Smalley's commentary, I have his book too. He makes a lot of good points and I'm not dogmatic about the referent of 1 John 3:2, but the first two verses of the chapter make me think John has the Father in mind. 1 John 3:3 is also helpful: anyone who has the hope of seeing "him" purifies himself as that one is pure. Compare 1 Peter 1:14-16.

FR said...

I think 1 John 3:3 falls into the same category of ambiguity which I referred to earlier. I know the Jehovah's Witness have differed on it.
a. The Watchtower: Jesus, who is "pure," is the perfect Example for us to consider.—James 3:17; 1 John 3:3 (Combating Sin's Grip on the Fallen Flesh, June 15, 1994, paragraph 16)
b. The Watchtower: John urged his fellow believers to 'purify themselves just as Jehovah is pure.'—1 John 3:3 ('Like a Precious Red-Colored Stone,' March 15, 2005, 3rd paragraph)

Situations like the above have happened quite a few times with them.

The BDAG (3rd Edition) does affirm that it is used "of Christ 1 John 3:3" (hagnos, page 13).

Edgar Foster said...

Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only ones who have differed over who is the referent of 1 John 3:3. Again, I'm going by context and usage of the word in other places. Hagnos occurs once in that form for GNT writers. However, the LXXX uses the word for Jehovah God and things related to him. Some commentators likewise apply 1 John 3:3 to the Father, but it could refer to Christ. I happen to believe that it does not. From Synonyms of the NT by Richard Trench:

Ἁγνός however signifies often the pure in the highest sense. It is an epithet frequently applied to heathen gods and goddesses, to Ceres, to Proserpine, to Jove (Sophocles, Philoct. 1273); to the Muses (Aristophanes, Ranoe, 875; Pindar, Olymp. vii. 60, and Dissen’s note); to the Sea-nymphs (Euripides, Iphig. in Aul. 982); above all in Homer to Artemis, the virgin goddess, and in Holy Scripture to God Himself (1 John 3:3). For this nobler use of ἁγνός in the Septuagint, where, however, it is excessively rare as compared to ἅγιος, see Ps. 11:7; Prov. 20:9.

Edgar Foster said...

You're right about BDAG, but the point can be contested as shown above.

FR said...

Since there are these instances (as well as others) of the ambiguity of the pronoun in 1 John I don't think there can be certainty that the pronoun does not refer to the Lord Jesus being 'the true God' in 1 John 5:20.

Edgar Foster said...

1 John 5:20 has been discussed often here. I wouldn't say with 100% certainty that the verse applies to the true God, but the evidence points in that direction.

In A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament by Max Zerwick, Mary Grosvenor (4th edition) they say regarding 1 John 5:20 with regards to hOUTOS:

"the ref. is almost certainly to God the real, the true, op. paganism (v21)."

On page 44 of Moulton-Turner (Vol. III, Syntax), we are told that οὗτος appears frequently in the papyri and NT. It can refer to someone present (Luke 15:30), and may also refer to "the noun which is most vivid in the writer's mind."

Examples given after this statement are Matt. 3:3; 3:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Jn. 5:20. Concerning 1 Jn. 5:20, we read: "God, not Christ, is the true God" (Moulton-Turner, p. 44). Looking up 1 Jn. 5:20 in the older Interpreter's Bible, I found out that it too identifies the Father as the subject described by οὗτος. He is the main subject of 1 John 5, and the Father is the true God and life everlasting (cf. Jn. 17:3; 1 Jn. 5:11).

"The Greek of [1 Jn] 5:20 has only the true (one) and
reads literally: we know that the Son of God has come
and has given us understanding 'so that we know the
true (one) and we are in the true (one),' in his Son
Jesus Christ. 'This (one) is the true God and eternal
life.' It is clear from this that 'the true (one)' is
God throughout. Christ is his Son. In the
final sentence this (one) most naturally refers still
to God, not to Christ, as some have suggested. It is
not unknown for Christ to be given God's name (Phil
2:9-11) or even to be called 'God' (Heb. 1:8-9; John
1:1), but that would run contrary to the theme here,
which is contrasting true and false understandings of
God for which Christ's revelation is the criterion"
(William Loader, The Johannine Epistles. London: Epworth Press, 1992. Page 79).

See also M.J. Harris, Jesus As God.