[B-Greek] APO KATABOLHS KOSMOU in Rev 13:8 and 17:8, NOW Rev. 3:5
Richard W. Wilson
rwwilson147 at swbell.net
Wed Nov 9 05:16:48 EST 2005
I'll leave my prior aspersions out of the discussion today. My apologies
if I was off base.
Carl Conrad wrote:
> . . . I think the text ought to be understood in terms of its own
> indications whether or not it happens to agree with what one might
> believe. If one intends to conform one's belief to the text in fact, I
> think one ought to ascertain what the text says before determining what
> one believes.
> In this instance I continue to think that if we take APO KATABOLHS
> KOSMOU with GEGRAPTAI in Rev 13:8, the sense must be "the names stand
> unwritten ever since the foundation of the world." That is, what was
> true at the outset is still true.
The "if" here is an issue because it is clear to many that it
can also be taken with TOU ARNIOU TOU ESPHAGMENOU. It would perhaps be
better to not take a position (which then compells one to argue logical
doctrinal consequences from a text and apply them to others) IF that
text CAN with good liguistic justification be interpreted in at least
two different ways, as it seems Rev. 13:8 can. Isn't it possible to see
the book of life as being the possession of the lamb also? Or is that
> Now, perhaps I'll go one step further: I think this formulation negates
> any suggestion that the names have ever been entered into the book in
> the intervening time. It does NOT indicate that they MIGHT HAVE BEEN
> ENTERED BUT WEREN'T, and some might think that's an inference to be
> taken seriously: but I don't think there's a great deal of warrant for
> drawing any inference at all from a NEGATIVE ASSERTION.
Reasonably reasoned, and a valid point in the end, but the lack of a
valid inference from a negative assertion contradicts the first
statement that "this formulation negates any suggestion that the names
have ever been entered into the book in the intervening time." If a
valid inference can't be drawn from this negative assertion then the
text can't negate "any suggestion that the names have ever been entered
into the book in the intervening time." Moreover, the negative "names ..
not .. written in the book of life" says nothing at all about when and
how the names written came to be there.
Now, however, since it is necessary to take the whole of a text into
account in deciding translations of particular parts, it might be
helpful to consider Rev. 3:5 in relation to the later texts. Although it
doesn't speak of anything written before the foundations of the earth,
it does of the book of life.
(Please pardon the no doubt inadequate cut-and-past of the Rev. 3:5
greek, and the adding of this almost as mere formality)
APOKALUPSIS IÔANOU 3:5
Ho nikôn houtôs peribaleitai en himatiois leukois, kai ou mê exaleipsô
to onoma autou ek tês biblou tês zôês, kai homologêsô to onoma autou
enôpion tou patros mou kai enôpion tôn angelôn autou.
Rev. 3:5. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will
never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his
name before my Father and his angels.
In this text Jesus says he won't erase a person's name from the book of
life. This would seem to clearly suggest/indicate that the author
considered it at least possible to alter the book based on the behavior
of the individual. The immediate context suggests that there are some
who "have not soiled their [spiritual] clothes" and they are written in
the book of life, but the others' deeds are not complete, so they need
to obey and repent, so that the one who "overcomes will, like them, be
dressed in white," and Jesus "will never blot out his name from the book
of life." While one might force this into a belief-box in which the
names are nevertheless all written unalterably before the world came to
be, if the author believed this there would be no reason for him to have
Jesus say that he wouldn't blot the overcomer's name from the book. It
would make more sense to say that someone would overcome because his/her
name was written in the book of life. Or, if their name is written in
the book then they will get white clothes to wear like the others. The
reasoning in the text seems to be that it is necessary to obey, repent,
and overcome in order to stay in the book of life (as believers they
would have already been there). The obvious antithesis, however, is that
if they don't do what he says they will be rubbed out of the book of
life. Hence the book can not be unalterable, and has therefore been
writable and still is.
Can anyone see textual reasons for thinking this is not the case? This
may not be a place where there is any particular problem or controversy
textually. As you can probably tell, I'm more theological than
linguistic, but if the implications that I see in this text are right or
reasonable, then the inferential interpretation of 13:8 or 17:8 as
refering to a book being written unalterably before the foundation of
the world is less than likely.
Psalm 69:27-28 seems relevant here also, as possibly the only OT usage
of the concept similar to that of the "book of life," out from which
someone may be blotted. v.28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the
living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous. ESV
> , , , our business here is NOT to establish doctrine but to elucidate
> the Greek text as Greek text.
Biblical texts seem inevitably to be more than mere text . . .
Richard W. Wilson, BA, MCS, MA; Our Net Services, St. Louis, MO
More information about the B-Greek