[B-Greek] Matthew 24:30 - The sign of the Son of Man in heaven

Jerry Austin Reimer jerry at lsm.org
Sat Sep 8 22:46:38 EDT 2007

Greek is ambiguous. The son or the sign can be in heaven as far as the Greek
construction is concerned. If it is apposition (the son is the sign) then
both are one and the issue is resolved. However, there is no mark for
apposition so that would be a judgment call just as is the case with the two
versions (ESV and KJV) you mention. KJV has opted for Greek word order thus
conveying the ambiguity in the Greek text. The ESV has decided that the
prepositonal phrase modifies sign rather than son. Modification decisions
are often translator opinions according to understanding and preference.
Subjectivity cannot be avoided. Maybe primacy of position (prepostional
phrase comes after man) should prevail here but if this is simply standard
Greek word order and no decisive significance should be assigned to word
order then position would not disambiguate the situation. Translation is
decision; the impossible art.

Jerry Reimer

-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Calvin Lindstrom
Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 7:02 PM
To: B-Greek
Subject: [B-Greek] Matthew 24:30 - The sign of the Son of Man in heaven

The first part of Matthew 24:30 reads:


Two English translations:
ESV: Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man
KJV: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven

My question is this. Could the Greek be understood as meaning that
the sign that will appear is that the Son of Man is in heaven or is a
translation like the ESV's the proper way of understanding the Greek.
Could it be ambiguous?

Calvin Lindstrom
Church of Christian Liberty
Arlington Heights, IL

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