Friday, December 31, 2021

Revelation 2:7--"The Paradise of God" (Grammatical-Exegetical Notes)

Greek (WH): Ὁ ἔχων οὖς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. Τῷ νικῶντι δώσω αὐτῷ φαγεῖν ἐκ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

The risen Christ addresses these words to the Ephesian Christians in first-century Asia Minor. John might use the aorist imperative ἀκουσάτω "to express an urgent command" in this missive. See Buist M. Fanning, Revelation, page 120.

While directed to the Ephesians, the words are not limited to them, but Christ speaks through the spirit (
τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει), ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις.

Fanning thinks that
Τῷ νικῶντι (an articular present participle) bears a generic sense such that it's not "progressive, repetitive, or customary" (page 121).

δώσω-future active indicative 1st person singular of δίδωμι ("I give, grant").

αὐτῷ-personal pronoun dative singular masculine of

φαγεῖν-aorist active infinitive of
ἐσθίω ("to eat")

Meyer's NT:
"The δώσω αὐτῳ with the inf. φαγεὶν has a somewhat different meaning from when (as, e.g., Revelation 2:17; Revelation 2:28) a definite object follows: it means, 'I will grant him to eat;' not, 'I will give him to eat.' ”

τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς-"the tree of life."

Daniel K.K. Wong posits that the tree of life is not symbolic but literal, just like there was a physical tree in Eden. He believes that all the features of New Jerusalem are equally literal (gates, river, light, street), so he asks why shouldn't the tree of life be literal. Nevertheless, it is questionable whether New Jerusalem or her features should be construed literally: the inspired seer likely intended for these things to be taken as signs (Revelation 1:1) just like the "hidden manna" in Rev. 2:17 (Compare Revelation 11:19).

Wong, Daniel K.K. “The Tree of Life in Revelation 2:7.” Bibliotheca Sac 155 (1998): 211–226.

ὅ ἐστιν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ τοῦ θεοῦ-"
which is in the Paradise of God" (ESV). See Genesis 3:22; Revelation 22:1-2, 14, 19. Most interpreters regard the words as future, not having already been fulfilled. Given the context, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that "paradise" here (see Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4) refers to God's heavenly dwelling (see Revelation 4:1-3). Moses Stuart states with a high degree of certainty that the passage refers to a celestial paradise. However, as with all matters, some scholars dissent and this seems to include G.K. Beale.

John certainly draws upon the LXX terminology and usage of "paradise of God," especially given the tree of life imagery (Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8-9).
παράδεισος likely has Persian roots--see Genesis 2:8; Nehemiah 2:8.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Throne Room Vision in Revelation 4:1-3 (Notes)

Greek (SBLGNT): Μετὰ ταῦτα εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ θύρα ἠνεῳγμένη ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ ἡ πρώτη ἣν ἤκουσα ὡς σάλπιγγος λαλούσης μετ’ ἐμοῦ, λέγων· Ἀνάβα ὧδε, καὶ δείξω σοι ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι. μετὰ ταῦτα [a]εὐθέως ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι· καὶ ἰδοὺ θρόνος ἔκειτο ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν θρόνον καθήμενος, [b]καὶ ὁ καθήμενος ὅμοιος ὁράσει λίθῳ ἰάσπιδι καὶ σαρδίῳ, καὶ ἶρις κυκλόθεν τοῦ θρόνου [c]ὅμοιος ὁράσει σμαραγδίνῳ.

Μετὰ ταῦτα εἶδον-Henry B. Swete (The Apocalypse of John, page 65) thinks this usage is significant because it signals a new vision that is significant. He draws attention to the employment of  Μετὰ in this verse coupled with εἶδον versus John using καὶ εἶδον in other instances. See Revelation 7:1, 9; 15:5; 18:1. Furthermore, Μετὰ ταῦτα apparently refers back to Revelation 1:12ff and signals the end of Christ's messages to the seven congregations. It occurs again in Revelation 4:2--compare the notes in NET.

Swete interprets
θύρα to be "the door of revelation" (i.e., disclosure) in contrast to the imagery we find elsewhere (Enoch 14:13 [possibly 1 Enoch 14:15]; Ezekiel 1:1; John 1:51; Revelation 3:8, 20). In this vision, only a door in heaven is opened, not the heavens themselves; the perfect participle ἠνεῳγμένη could suggest that the door remained open (Swete, 65). Ralph Earle (Word Meanings in the New Testament, page 459) maintains the correct translation of the perfect participle here is "standing open"--so the NASB, NIV, ESV, NET. NWT 2013 says "an opened door in heaven"

ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ-See Matthew 28:18; Revelation 10:1-2; 12:1-5, 7; 15:5. Aristotle writes: καὶ γὰρ ταῦτα ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ εἶναί φαμεν (On the Heavens I.278b).

NET adds: tn Or “in the sky” (the same Greek word means both “heaven” and “sky”).

Ἀνάβα ὧδε-Compare Revelation 11:12.

Buist M. Fanning reckons that the door standing open "in heaven" signifies "unlocked access between heaven and earth" (Revelation, page 196). He invokes Psalm 78:23; Ezekiel 1:1; Matthew 3:16; Acts 7:56; 10:11; Revelation 19:11; 1 Enoch 14:15; T. Levi 5.1, which are some of the verses mentioned by Swete.

εὐθέως ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι-compare Revelation 1:10.

ὁράσει-dative singular feminine of ὅρασις (occurs 4x in the NT).

ὅρασις, -εως, ἡ (ὁράω) [in LXX chiefly for מַרְאֶה, חָזוֹן and cognate forms ;]

1. in Arist. and later writers, the act of seeing, the sense of sight, and by meton., pl., the eyes.
2. appearance (Nu 24:4, Ez 1:5, Si 41:20, al.): Re 4:3.
3. = ὅραμα, a vision: Ac 2:17 (LXX), Re 9:17.†

λίθῳ ἰάσπιδι καὶ σαρδίῳ-see Revelation 21:11, 18-20.

ἶρις-occurs only here and in Revelation 10:1 unlike Genesis 9:13, 14, 16 and Ezekiel 1:28 which employ toxon (the Latin is arcus).

Craig R. Koester (Revelation, page 360):

Regarding κυκλόθεν τοῦ θρόνου ὅμοιος ὁράσει σμαραγδίνῳ, Moses Stuart (A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Vol. 2) writes:

Laurențiu Moț (Morphological and Syntactical Irregularities in the Book of Revelation, page 167): "It appears that Rev 4:3 is a sample showing that the path to uniformity, when all adjectives have three endings, as in Modern Greek, was not completed yet. John is much closer to the three-endings pattern, but reminiscences are still to be seen as fading out."