Skip to content

1 Thessalonians 4:16

1Th. 4:15 Τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας· 16 ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον, 17 ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα. Spent some time looking over the exegetical history from John Calvin to J. Weima[1].
He employs the term κελεύσματος, (shout,) and afterwards adds, the voice of the archangel, by way of exposition, intimating what is to be the nature of that arousing shout—that the archangel will discharge the office of a herald to summon the living and the dead to the tribunal of Christ. John Calvin
Paul is invoking an eschatological - apocalyptic scenario where 98% of the scenario is left to be filled in by the reader. Not sure what can be assumed about the Thessalonian’s familiarity with Second Temple Apocalyptic literature but that isn’t the problem. Paul invokes the scenario as if they were familiar with it. In the apocalyptic literature divine commands are often delivered by a subordinate agent, for example the opening of the seals in the Apocalypse where The Lamb opens the seals but a command is given by one of the living beings: Rev. 6:1 Καὶ εἶδον ὅτε ἤνοιξεν τὸ ἀρνίον μίαν ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ σφραγίδων, καὶ ἤκουσα ἑνὸς ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων λέγοντος ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς· ἔρχου. J. Weima[1] disagrees, he thinks that αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος nails down ὁ κύριος as the agent of κελεύσματι. I don’t follow that. ἐν κελεύσματι is an attendant circumstance. The pronoun αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος draws attention to identity of the agent in the main verb καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ. Ran across a somewhat tangential observation about the constituent order in this passage. αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος is a point of departure followed by a long marked focal constituent ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ in the pre-verbal slot[2]. This doesn't particularly address the question at hand but I thought someone might like to read this paper. [1] a Google search: φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου who is speaking, delivered among others J. Weima 2014, 1-2 Thessalonians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) By Jeffrey A. D. Weima, 2014 [2] See page 25, Greek Word Order in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11 Stephen Wunrow April 16, 2013 https://www.academia.edu/25302324/Greek ... _4_13_5_11 Statistics: Posted by Stirling Bartholomew — January 20th, 2017, 4:06 pm
Thank you Jonathan. I've been discussing this with someone with a degree in linguistics and thorough knowledge of biblical languages who says that the Lord is to be understood as the agent of the three εν phrases. I wanted to run the question by others to see if anyone else agreed with my interlocutor. Statistics: Posted by Scott Lawson — January 19th, 2017, 10:25 pm
 
Scott Lawson wrote: Jonathan, Your answer doesn't really address my question. The Lord is the subject of the sentence nut is he also the agent of the three εν phrases. We seem to have two possible categories for the dative of the εν phrases; 1) instrumental 2) associative. If it's instrumental then it would seem that the Lord has the voice of the archangel, he calls out the commanding call and descends with God's trumpet. If associative then he descends in association with these things. Can we determine who the agent/agents are of the εν phrases?
Oh, I see what you are getting at. Sorry I misunderstood. I don't interpret it that way, but the grammar does not rule out an instrumental interpretation. I suspect that ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου refers to the voice of an archangel, and is not saying that Jesus has a voice like an archangel. But the grammar doesn't prove it one way or another. Statistics: Posted by Jonathan Robie — January 19th, 2017, 9:16 pm
Jonathan, Your answer doesn't really address my question. The Lord is the subject of the sentence nut is he also the agent of the three εν phrases. We seem to have two possible categories for the dative of the εν phrases; 1) instrumental 2) associative. If it's instrumental then it would seem that the Lord has the voice of the archangel, he calls out the commanding call and descends with God's trumpet. If associative then he descends in association with these things. Can we determine who the agent/agents are of the εν phrases? Statistics: Posted by Scott Lawson — January 19th, 2017, 8:06 pm
 
Scott Lawson wrote: Is the agent of the three ἐν phrases ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ the Lord or is it impossible to determine? 1 Th. 4:16 ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον,
That's how I read it. Subject: αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος Adverbial: ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ Verb: καταβήσεται Adverbial: ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ The adverbial parts describe what's going on with the verb, how αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος will descend. καταβήσεται ἐν κελεύσματι. καταβήσεται ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου. καταβήσεται ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ. καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ. Statistics: Posted by Jonathan Robie — January 19th, 2017, 7:05 pm
Is the agent of the three ἐν phrases ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ the Lord or is it impossible to determine? 1 Th. 4:16 ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον, Statistics: Posted by Scott Lawson — January 19th, 2017, 4:21 pm