Basis for tagging Biblical Person in ESV Rev 1:4 (help)

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LimJK | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Dec 2 2012 10:16 PM

Hi,

I would really appreciate some education as to the rationale or basis for tagging "who was", "who is", "who is to come" as "Jesus" vs "God" in Rev 1:4 below.  Interestingly "his" in "his throne" in the same verse is tagged as "God".  

Is there some documentation on Biblical Facts - Person available some where?

Thank you.

JK

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2012 11:04 PM

Hi LimJK

LimJK:
I would really appreciate some education as to the rationale or basis for tagging "who was", "who is", "who is to come" as "Jesus" vs "God" in Rev 1:4 below.  Interestingly "his" in "his throne" in the same verse is tagged as "God".  

Personally I think it's a mistake - it will be interesting to get a comment from Logos regarding this

LimJK:
Is there some documentation on Biblical Facts - Person available some where?

http://wiki.logos.com/Biblical_People has information about the L4 "Biblical People" which was a precursor to this.

I'm not aware of anything else.

Graham

 

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LimJK | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 1:32 AM

Graham Criddle:

http://wiki.logos.com/Biblical_People has information about the L4 "Biblical People" which was a precursor to this.

Graham,

Thanks for the link, I will take a look at that, missed that one.

In the main I have difficulty understanding the tagging decisions, so that I can feel comfortable to use them: eg. "him" in "him who is" in v4 is not tag (neither God nor Jesus), on the other hand "him" in "him who loves us" in V5 is tagged as "Jesus". Both these "him" do not have a greek equivalent as shown in the ESV RVI. I can understand if Logos do not tag it because there is no greek equivalent and I assume that the rule is consistent, if there is exception, I hope to understand why. Or maybe from the context it is obvious to everyone else Sad

JK

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Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 1:33 AM

In Rev 1:4 &5 the three Persons of the Trinity are being addressed one by one starting with the Fatther: "Him who is and who was and who is to come"; the Holy Spirit: "and from fthe seven Spirits who are before His throne"; and finally Jesus in verse 5: "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—"

 

 

 

 

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 1:51 AM

LimJK:
"him" in "him who is" in v4 is not tag

And I expect it is due to there being no Greek equivalent as you suggest but it's not totally clear

As you can see from the screenshots below, the NRSV and ESV are tagged differently

But in neither case is the "ὁ" tagged for a person.

LimJK:
on the other hand "him" in "him who loves us" in V5 is tagged as "Jesus"

For that to be tagged is reasonable. As you will see from the shot below, it is a phrase which is being tagged "to him who loves us"

As Kevin points out

Kevin Taylor:
and finally Jesus in verse 5: "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—"

this is correctly tagged as referring to Jesus.

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Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 2:09 AM

Actually the NRSV and the ESV are tagged the same.  In Koine the pronoun "him" (and ultimately who) is implied by ho.  In the NRSV this is placed on "him" as opposed to "who" in the ESV but both words are implied by the Greek word ho.  

The Strong's tag to G3588 (ho) is the same and correct for both translations.  Louw-Nida is 92.24 which is also the same.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 2:25 AM

Hi Kevin

Kevin Taylor:
Actually the NRSV and the ESV are tagged the same.  In Koine the pronoun "him" (and ultimately who) is implied by ho.  In the NRSV this is placed on "him" as opposed to "who" in the ESV but both words are implied by the Greek word ho.  

Thanks for this, however I'm still not sure the tagging is the same.

The arrow in the NRSV RI between the "ὁ" and the "ὢν" indicates that the "who" is linked to the "is"

I'm not sure what the dot under the "him" in the ESV RI indicates. Normally this is used to denote that the original language word hasn't been translated into English. This is not the case here so wonder whether it indicates that the word was interpolated.

Not sure any of this is germane to the original point but there do seem to be differences as to how these are tagged and linked.

Graham

 

 

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Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 2:50 AM

Good point Graham, I think the translator's are trying to highlight the connection between the pronoun(s) (him who) and the verb (is, was etc.).  I think this serves more as a syntactical map for the English reader but does not change the resulting meaning or intent as the word order is not important in Greek (except to show shades of focus) as it is in English.

ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος (aka from Him who is and who was and who is to come) is the same in both translations but a lingering question remains.  Is the Person in question the Father or the Son?  I believe the Person in the first part is the Father and should be tagged God and the Person in the third part (verse 5) is Christ and should be tagged Jesus.

The same phrase is used In verse 8 which is tagged Christ in this case and I believe accurately so.

 

 

 

 

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 3:02 AM

Kevin Taylor:
I think the translator's are trying to highlight the connection between the pronoun(s) (him who) and the verb (is, was etc.).  I think this serves more as a syntactical map for the English reader but does not change the resulting meaning or intent as the word order is not important in Greek (except to show shades of focus) as it is in English.

Absolutely

Kevin Taylor:
ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος (aka from Him who is and who was and who is to come) is the same in both translations but a lingering question remains.  Is the Person in question the Father or the Son?  I believe the Person in the first part is the Father and should be tagged God and the Person in the third part (verse 5) is Christ and should be tagged Jesus.

I agree with you.

Kevin Taylor:
The same phrase is used In verse 8 which is tagged Christ in this case and I believe accurately so.

This is less clear - most of the commentators I have say this relates to the Father.

8 As the divine response to what has been said about Christ and his relationship to believers and the unbelieving world, God himself now speaks. Only here and in 21:5ff. does God speak. He declares that he is “the Alpha and the Omega” (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet). In 21:6 the same title is expanded and interpreted by the parallel expression, “the Beginning and the End.” Alpha and Omega represent the Hebrew Aleph and Tau, which were regarded not simply as the first and last letters of the alphabet, but as including all the letters in between. Hence, the title sets forth God as the sovereign Lord over everything that takes place in the entire course of human history. Knox translates, “I am Alpha, I am Omega, the beginning of all things and their end.” By means of these descriptive titles God is not revealing his eternality for the theological edification of believers, but stressing his timeless sovereignty for the encouragement of Asian Christians who are facing persecution for their faith.

Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (, The New International Commentary on the New TestamentGrand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 51-52.

 

8a ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ὦ, λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God.” The divine predicate “Alpha and Omega” occurs twice more in Revelation, once of God in 21:6 (as here), and once of Christ in 22:13 

David E. Aune, vol. 52A, Revelation 1–5 (, Word Biblical CommentaryDallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 57.

 

Finally, as if to confirm what has already been said, the voice of the reader becomes the vehicle for the voice of God. This is the first of four ‘I AM sayings’ (another Johannine trait) in Revelation, two of which are spoken by God (here and 21:6), and two by Jesus, highlighting his exalted status (1:18; 22:16; cf. 2:23).

Ian Boxall, The Revelation of Saint John (, Black's New Testament CommentaryLondon: Continuum, 2006), 35.

 

Others argue that it is Christ:

8. I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Here is the first self-designation of God, which John repeats with an addition in 21:6, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” The question, however, is whether these words refer to God or to Christ. For one thing, the I am was spoken by God when he called Moses at the burning bush, “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14). But in the Gospel of John, Jesus identifies himself repeatedly with the I am formula, for example, “Before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58). Both God and Jesus identify themselves as “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Notice these parallels:

    God: I am the Alpha and the Omega (1:8).

    Christ: I am the First and the Last (1:17).

    God: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (21:6).

    Christ: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (22:13).

The parallels are identical, yet not Jesus but God is called Almighty (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22; and 2 Cor. 6:18). Nonetheless, Christ is eternal and can say that he is the first and the last, the originator and the one who completes the work of creation and redemption. He is the first and the last letter of the Greek alphabet (i.e., everything from A to Z); he is fully the Word of God. Thus we see “Christ as the divine agent both in God’s creation in all things and in God’s eschatological fulfillment of all things.”30 Jesus is the one who was sent by God the Father to deliver the words of God (John 3:34).

This verse summarizes the first segment of chapter 1 by emphasizing the divinity of Jesus Christ as one with God the Father. The Lord Jesus Christ has been from eternity with the Father, has come to earth to pay the penalty of our sin through his death and resurrection, and is giving us the promise of his return. Jesus himself is uttering the words of this text, as is evident from a succeeding segment (vv. 17–18) where he identifies himself as first and last, the living one who was dead, but who lives eternally, holding the keys of Death and Hades. Jesus takes center stage in the first eight verses of this chapter:

  •      in the opening verses as God’s agent of revelation (vv. 1–2);

  •      in the greeting as the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth (v. 5a);

  •      in the doxology as the redeemer and king (vv. 5b–6);

  •      in the prophetic announcement of his return (v. 7);

  •      and in his declaration of his eternity, divinity, and power (v. 8).

Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 20, Exposition of the Book of Revelation (, New Testament CommentaryGrand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 87-88.

 

From a straight reading of the text I think I would conclude it is God the Father speaking but it not clear-cut

Graham 

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LimJK | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 4:29 AM

Kevin Taylor:

In Rev 1:4 &5 the three Persons of the Trinity are being addressed one by one starting with the Fatther: "Him who is and who was and who is to come"; the Holy Spirit: "and from fthe seven Spirits who are before His throne"; and finally Jesus in verse 5: "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—"

Kevin,

Thanks, as a lay person, when I read the ESV translation, that is what I understand it to be, so when Logos tagged it as "Jesus" vs "God (or Father)" I was confused, and wanted to understand the rationale for the tagging decision.

JK

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LogosEmployee

Hi LimJK,

It looks like this is an error on my part. I say on "may part" not "our part" since I was the only person who did the tagging in the New Testament. The addition of Jesus in v. 5 using "and" makes clear that someone other than Jesus was the referent in the preceding clause. I have changed the data, so it should go out with the next update of the referent data. Thanks very much for bringing this to our attention.

The developers are working on a solution for reporting such things that would be comparable to the "Report a typo" feature. This should make it easier to suggest corrections,

Thanks again,

Steve

 

 

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 9:32 AM

Hi Steve

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):
It looks like this is an error on my part. I say on "may part" not "our part" since I was the only person who did the tagging in the New Testament. The addition of Jesus in v. 5 using "and" makes clear that someone other than Jesus was the referent in the preceding clause. I have changed the data, so it should go out with the next update of the referent data. Thanks very much for bringing this to our attention.

This is great - thanks.

Any comments on the discussion which Kevin and I were having above regarding the appropriate tagging in verse 8?

Thanks, Graham 

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Hi Graham,

I'll have to keep this brief, so I doubt it will address all of your questions. First, there were mistakes that I have corrected now in this section, but you raise some good questions. I did a doctoral dissertation on participant reference, spurred by a question about who was trying to kill who in Exo 4:24. After four years of studying the linguistic principles that guide how we process pronouns and their referents, I ended up deciding that this was a case of intentional ambiguity. There were no principles that could unambiguously resolve this.

Back to Rev 1:5-8. As Kevin points out, we have a three-part reference to the Trinity in v. 4-5a. Beginning in 5, Jesus is the referent for a series of appositional phrases: firstborn from the dead and the ruler of kings on earth. There is nothing here to indicate a switch to anyone else, e.g. the Father. On this basis, the reference "to him who loves us and freed us by his blood" would also be best understood as referring to Jesus. This is confirmed by making us priests to "his God and Father."

Since Jesus has been the central referent to whom others like "his God" is connected, the data point to this continuing into v. 7 as "the one coming with the clouds..." This reading is further confirmed by Jesus being understood as the one pierced, thus all the tribes will wail on account of Jesus.

Now we come to v. 8. The million-dollar question is whether the "Lord God" here to mark a switch from Jesus to some other participant as the speaker, or whether Jesus is the speaker. Because this is a quotation in v. 8 (based on the switch from third-person "he" to first-person "I") the speaker needs to be identified.

I went with the reading that Jesus is the speaker based on the apparent continuity with the preceding context where Jesus is central. But this means that the name "Lord God" is recharacterizing him compared to the the last explicit reference to him as Jesus in v. 5.

There is another legitimate reading where "Lord God" refers to the Father rather than Jesus. This would be supported by the repetition of what was said about him in v. 4, the one who was and is and is to come. This reading would assign the appellations "Alpha and Omega" and "Almighty" to the Father rather than Jesus.

When there is a reference to some member of the godhead that could not be clearly narrowed down, our Prime Directive rule was to label it with the generic God, which was intended to sidestep making an explicit decision. If you had something like in v. 4, where the individual members are referenced, we could infer that the first reference was to the Father. In v. 8 we'd be making an executive decision that this is an intention-though-underspecified switch back to the Father.

Graham, you cite some great scholars who land on both sides of the fence. If that's the case, then that means there are good cases to be made for each side. I opted for Jesus based on the fact that it was an attested reading and it involves the least amount of semantic gymnastics to arrive at.

What I probably should have done is punted and assigned it to "God" where the godhead is viewed as a unity rather than as a specific person. NASB and NRSV put the words of v. 8 in red, NIV, ESV, and NLT do not.

Revelation 1:8 is not a dicey as Exo 4, but it illustrates why no one has done a database like this. We have an old departmental saying: "If it was easy someone would have already done it by now." I know I have made my share of mistakes in doing this annotation, and am thankful (gulp) for all the users who will help to correct and improve it.

Having done it now, places like this would make it nice to support two views or reading of the data. This would be confusing in the current implementation as there is nothing like a note feature for this data yet. This means I need to make a judgement call based on the data, and we opt for the one that represents the smallest or no leap. "Jesus is the answer" was the answer.

I hope this helps, but there is a lot that went on under the hood in making these decisions. I did my best to see what other scholars had done, but came to find that decisions about such things are really hit and miss.

Regards,

Steve

 

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Kevin Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 4:32 PM

Dr. Runge,

 

Thanks for chiming in on this discussion.  As you mentioned, verse 8 gets a bit sketchy as to whether the Father or Son are being cited here.  My own pastor-teacher teaches the Father is being designated here due to the title "Lord God" which refers to the Father in Luke.  This is an area where I have personally leaned towards the Son 51% to 49% but am not really hard set as I have not really done the leg work to settle my conviction and also because it does not affect any big theological issues for me in the passage.  You seem to be in a similar place.

There are certainly quite a few semantic hurdles to cover with the two positions, perhaps I will revisit the issue as a personal project based on this discussion.  Thanks again Graham, LimJK and Dr. Runge for the valued input.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2012 10:57 PM

Hi Steve

Many thanks for taking the time to provide such a detailed and insightful response.

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):
Revelation 1:8 is not a dicey as Exo 4, but it illustrates why no one has done a database like this. We have an old departmental saying: "If it was easy someone would have already done it by now." I know I have made my share of mistakes in doing this annotation, and am thankful (gulp) for all the users who will help to correct and improve it.

The explanation you provide demonstrates the truth of this statement!

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):
I hope this helps, but there is a lot that went on under the hood in making these decisions. I did my best to see what other scholars had done, but came to find that decisions about such things are really hit and miss.

One of the possibly unintended side-effects is that it makes me (and probably others) think about questions I might never otherwise have asked and that is valuable

Thanks again

Graham

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LimJK | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 4 2012 12:16 AM

Dr. Steven Runge (Logos):

Hi LimJK,

It looks like this is an error on my part. I say on "may part" not "our part" since I was the only person who did the tagging in the New Testament. The addition of Jesus in v. 5 using "and" makes clear that someone other than Jesus was the referent in the preceding clause. I have changed the data, so it should go out with the next update of the referent data. Thanks very much for bringing this to our attention.

Steve, 

Thank you for your reply.  Wow, really appreciate the labor of love tagging all these :-) I am learning how to use your handy work :-) Sounds like we may need a Biblical Person commentary on decisions on the difficult ones :-)

JK

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Terry Poperszky | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 4 2012 4:55 AM

I remember my first VMWorld conference back in 2005, I normally find these types of events all marketing hype and a waste of time and money, but as I checked out the course reviews I found lectures being given by the actual engineers that had developed the product. That really impressed me, and VMWorld is one of the few events that I still attend.

 

What does that have to do with this thread? Dr. Runge taking the time to explain why he made the decision he did reminded me of that conference, and I appreciate his passion for the work he has done. Technical access like this in almost non-existent in our world.

 

Thanks

 

 

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 4 2012 6:12 AM

LimJK:

I would really appreciate some education as to the rationale or basis for tagging "who was", "who is", "who is to come" as "Jesus" vs "God" in Rev 1:4 below.  Interestingly "his" in "his throne" in the same verse is tagged as "God".  

Is there some documentation on Biblical Facts - Person available some where?

Thank you.

It's fairly obviously a mistake.  Since Jesus Christ is tagged in v 5 as a supplemental source of "grace and peace", it is not really possible to equate the is/was/is to come grouping with him.  Also note that it also mentions the seven spirits before the throne in v 4 which makes this a trinitarian formula (yes, definitely before Nicea).

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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LimJK | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 4 2012 7:49 AM

George Somsel:

It's fairly obviously a mistake.  Since Jesus Christ is tagged in v 5 as a supplemental source of "grace and peace", it is not really possible to equate the is/was/is to come grouping with him.  Also note that it also mentions the seven spirits before the throne in v 4 which makes this a trinitarian formula (yes, definitely before Nicea).

George,

Thanks for the education ... for looking at this case from the perspective of 3 sources of "grace and peace", now that you say it, it looks logical :-) thanks.  You noticed I marked it as I read what I thought is the normal English sense ... so accidentally discovered that this is a mistake as Steve had confirmed.

I thought it will be valuable if Logos can consider to tag notes on decision for cases that are not so straight forward. The insights of the decision(s) or the challenge(s) and consideration(s) involved would be valuable for lay people like me :-)

Thanks to Kevin and Graham too :-)

JK

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Doug | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 6 2012 5:53 AM

I would just add that in keeping with the context of the rest of the chapter, it appears that the seven spirits before His throne are the seven angels of the churches.  The was/is/is to come being is sure God the Father in verse 5 and I believe holds true for verse 8.  Context rules!  Smile

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