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Revelation 22:18

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  • Revelation 22:18

    Revelation 22:18 (KJV)
    For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.

    Revelation 22:18 (NASB)
    I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book


    I can see two main differences between the versions/manuscripts. First, the KJV includes the word "for." This one word seems to link this bizarre verse to the preceding verse (as in "Therefore"). The second is that the textus receptus apparently uses the word summartureo (testify with) instead of martureo (testify), which the new versions use. This word change would seem to imply that the textus receptus is once again linking this verse 18 with the immediately preceding verse 17. Under this view, John would be testifying alongside (and possibly restating) the multiple witnesses in the preceding verse 17:

    Revelation 22:17 (KJV)
    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


    I do not actually know Greek. Am I correct in reasoning that the KJV more strongly ties verse 18 with verse 17, compared to the newer versions?
    Last edited by Obsidian; 02-23-2014, 03:39 PM.

  • #2
    Yes, you are correct. One cannot always insist upon a strong change in meaning associated with a compound verb, but the preposition may carry some meaning here, especially in conjunction with the use of 'gar'. Another difference in the Greek texts is that the critical editions also include 'ego', the unnecessary pronoun "I", which may serve to distinguish the witness of 22,18 from that of 22,17, and emphasize that it is the author speaking here. At first glance, I think the critical text is more likely the correct sense. Even the TR uses only a minor punctuation before the end of 22,18, and it is hard to include 22,18b as comparable to 22,17.
    Last edited by robrecht; 02-23-2014, 03:59 PM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, the idea I was looking at was that 22:18 is just saying that people who add to the gospel will have plagues added to them. It is hard for me to understand why John would include the verse, unless it had some meaning similar to that point. I find the idea that John is prohibiting text-tampering rather unlikely. The passage is a clear allusion to passages like Deuteronomy 4:2, where Moses is saying that the Jews should not add commandments to the law or omit commandments. Moses was not telling them to avoid tampering with his manuscripts. Also, Revelation 22:18 specifically mentions anyone that "hears" the words. If you are simply hearing Revelation, obviously it would be impossible to tamper with the written text. Finally, it simply does not make sense why John would include a prohibition on text-tampering to this book only, and not to his other four books.

      So all of this to say, I do think verse 18 is comparable to verse 17 (which proclaims the freeness of the gospel).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
        Well, the idea I was looking at was that 22:18 is just saying that people who add to the gospel will have plagues added to them. It is hard for me to understand why John would include the verse, unless it had some meaning similar to that point. I find the idea that John is prohibiting text-tampering rather unlikely. The passage is a clear allusion to passages like Deuteronomy 4:2, where Moses is saying that the Jews should not add commandments to the law or omit commandments. Moses was not telling them to avoid tampering with his manuscripts. Also, Revelation 22:18 specifically mentions anyone that "hears" the words. If you are simply hearing Revelation, obviously it would be impossible to tamper with the written text. Finally, it simply does not make sense why John would include a prohibition on text-tampering to this book only, and not to his other four books.

        So all of this to say, I do think verse 18 is comparable to verse 17 (which proclaims the freeness of the gospel).
        So are you postulating that 22,18b, the second part of verse 18, is a later gloss, ie, not part of the original text written by the author?

        Also, don't forget the Greek reading of 22,18a you are favoring was a retrotranslation by Erasmus from the Latin because his single Greek manuscript for Revelation lacked the last 6 verses.
        Last edited by robrecht; 02-23-2014, 04:32 PM.
        βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
        ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

        אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rebrecht
          So are you postulating that 22,18b, the second part of verse 18, is a later gloss, ie, not part of the original text written by the author?
          Maybe I'm missing something that you are saying. But I am postulating that everyone who wants can come drink from the water of life for free, and that if anyone tries to add any conditions to make it not free, then God will send plagues. And it was all written by the author, John.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
            Maybe I'm missing something that you are saying. But I am postulating that everyone who wants can come drink from the water of life for free, and that if anyone tries to add any conditions to make it not free, then God will send plagues. And it was all written by the author, John.
            Oh, now I see what you would like to do. You would like to add these words to Erasmus' Greek translation of the Latin:

            For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add [any conditions] unto these things [, ie, the plural waters of life], God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.

            That's a very beautiful rewriting of Erasmus' retrotranslation from the Latin, but it cannot be derived from the Greek. Hope you're prepared for the plagues!
            Last edited by robrecht; 02-23-2014, 04:56 PM.
            βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
            ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

            אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

            Comment


            • #7
              It's an interpretation. And it makes more sense than your interpretation. It doesn't have to be "derived from the Greek."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                It's an interpretation. And it makes more sense than your interpretation. It doesn't have to be "derived from the Greek."
                It's a beautiful interpretation, but it is not what the text says. I did not offer an interpretation, just tried to tell you what the text actually says in the language it was written in. The Greek that you're trying to interpret was written by Erasmus in the 16th century. I'm sorry if that disappoints you.
                βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
                ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think you are being willfully dense. The view I am proposing works for the newer versions, too -- just not quite as strongly. Do you think Moses was prohibiting manuscript-tampering in Deuteronomy 4? Do you think it makes sense for a "hearer" of the words of prophecy to tamper with the written text?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                    I think you are being willfully dense. The view I am proposing works for the newer versions, too -- just not quite as strongly. Do you think Moses was prohibiting manuscript-tampering in Deuteronomy 4? Do you think it makes sense for a "hearer" of the words of prophecy to tamper with the written text?
                    Think what you like; I won't hold it against you. But the words, 'gar' and 'sunmarteuomi' that you pointed to in your first post simply do not appear in any Greek manuscripts. They were part of Erasmus' retrotranslation into Greek from Latin. If you now want to abandon those elements of your argument, then you might be able to make a different case. I wouldn't rely too much on 'Moses' intent in Deuteronomy, however. Also, you should consider the parallelism of 22,18 with 22,19.
                    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
                    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                      ... Do you think it makes sense for a "hearer" of the words of prophecy to tamper with the written text?
                      See Rev 1,3. It seems the author has in mind a reader for a community of hearers.
                      βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
                      ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                      אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another point in favor of my argument, which I have just noticed, is that verse 17 says that whoever "heareth" should "say Come." Then in verses 18-19, it says that whoever "heareth" should make sure not to add or subtract. To me, this suggests that the message ("Come") is the same message being discussed in 18-19 as the "words of the prophecy of this book." That is, the hearers should invite others to drink the water described in the book. But the oral message should not alter the message of the book (e.g., by adding requirements for salvation or failing to describe salvation adequately).

                        Originally posted by robrecht
                        But the words, 'gar' and 'sunmarteuomi' that you pointed to in your first post simply do not appear in any Greek manuscripts. They were part of Erasmus' retrotranslation into Greek from Latin. If you now want to abandon those elements of your argument, then you might be able to make a different case.
                        Those words are basically just what pointed me to the idea. Apparently, Erasmus or Jerome (or whoever) felt like verses 17 and 18 were linked.

                        Assuming that Erasmus really did just backtrack from the Latin (which seems likely), that diminishes my argument. But it does not negate it.

                        I wouldn't rely too much on 'Moses' intent in Deuteronomy
                        John clearly means something similar to what Moses wrote. The only difference is that John was writing a book of prophecy, and Moses was writing a book of law. What exactly it means to "keep" the words of book of prophecy (1:3) is unclear.

                        Also, you should consider the parallelism of 22,18 with 22,19.
                        Verse 19 would be interpreted similarly, but not the same. Arguably, it depends on whether we accept the "book of life" view (which I find dubious) or the "tree of life" view.

                        Taking away from the words might mean failing to preach the full counsel of God. Having your part removed from the tree of life could refer to becoming disqualified as a healer of the nations (the tree), and being removed from fellowship with God (in the city).

                        See Rev 1,3. It seems the author has in mind a reader for a community of hearers.
                        Probably. I just don't see how someone in the audience, when Revelation was being read, could possibly tamper with the manuscript. It's a writer or reader who tampers, not a hearer.

                        And as I have suggested, it just seems very odd to me that John would throw in such a random, literal prohibition. Whenever possible, I try to interpret the Bible by looking at entire sections. If possible, I even try to understand the links between the entire sections. Just taking verses in isolation from Revelation (of all books), and then reading them literally, seems like a bad method.
                        Last edited by Obsidian; 02-24-2014, 08:53 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          Another point in favor of my argument, which I have just noticed, is that verse 17 says that whoever "heareth" should "say Come." Then in verses 18-19, it says that whoever "heareth" should make sure not to add or subtract. To me, this suggests that the message ("Come") is the same message being discussed in 18-19 as the "words of the prophecy of this book." That is, the hearers should invite others to drink the water described in the book. But the oral message should not alter the message of the book (e.g., by adding requirements for salvation or failing to describe salvation adequately).
                          You don't read this as saying, 'come' to the Lord?

                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          Those words are basically just what pointed me to the idea. Apparently, Erasmus or Jerome (or whoever) felt like verses 17 and 18 were linked.
                          But not linked in the way that you read the text. Are you aware of anyone in the history of the church who has read these words in the manner that you do?

                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          Assuming that Erasmus really did just backtrack from the Latin (which seems likely), that diminishes my argument. But it does not negate it.
                          There is no reason to doubt that this is what Erasmus did, he told his readers this:

                          Quamquam in calce huius libri nonnulla verba reperi apud nostros quae aberrant in Graecis exemplaribus; eat amen ex latinis adiecimus.

                          This completely negates your initial argument. Now you're looking for different arguments. Some might call this grasping at straws, but I'm willing to entertain your new arguments as long as we can agree on the importance of the text as written in the initial language.

                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          John clearly means something similar to what Moses wrote. The only difference is that John was writing a book of prophecy, and Moses was writing a book of law. What exactly it means to "keep" the words of book of prophecy (1:3) is unclear.
                          I don't think this is so obscure. I'll return to this in a subsequent post.

                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          Verse 19 would be interpreted similarly, but not the same. Arguably, it depends on whether we accept the "book of life" view (which I find dubious) or the "tree of life" view.

                          Taking away from the words might mean failing to preach the full counsel of God. Having your part removed from the tree of life could refer to becoming disqualified as a healer of the nations (the tree), and being removed from fellowship with God (in the city).

                          Probably. I just don't see how someone in the audience, when Revelation was being read, could possibly tamper with the manuscript. It's a writer or reader who tampers, not a hearer.
                          Do you imagine that I have somewhere suggested that John is explicitly speaking only of textual transmission? I have not. So that might be a bit of a strawman.

                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          And as I have suggested, it just seems very odd to me that John would throw in such a random, literal prohibition. Whenever possible, I try to interpret the Bible by looking at entire sections. If possible, I even try to understand the links between the entire sections. Just taking verses in isolation from Revelation (of all books), and then reading them literally, seems like a bad method.
                          I would never recommend looking at any one verse in isolation. If I have some time later, I will relate these verses to the structure of the entire book. But my first priority was to help you understand that it is indeed important to understand the words that were written by the original author in the original language.
                          Last edited by robrecht; 02-25-2014, 09:52 AM.
                          βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
                          ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                          אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You don't read this as saying, 'come' to the Lord?
                            Not when the very next sentence is telling a thirsty person to come.

                            Revelation 22:17
                            And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


                            Also, I don't think it makes much sense for the Holy Spirit to be telling Jesus to come.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                              ... It doesn't have to be "derived from the Greek."
                              Before I spend too much time discussing the text of Revelation with you, I want to know why you made this statement. I would not enjoy wasting my time explaining the Greek text to you if you fundamentally don't care about the original language text.
                              βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
                              ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

                              אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

                              Comment

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