Mark 13:14 in its Synoptic Context
- A New Grammatical Identification of participle in Mark 13:14
In my studies on Mark 13:14, I have noticed the construction ad sensum belief by interpreters which is actually determined by a prophetical understanding that this is to be a future antichrist (masculine) person (e.g., TDNT 1:600). However, upon a more indepth exegetical studies, I have come to the conclusion that it should instead be a construction ad sensum understanding to Luke�s parallel account of this statement of Christ which says that this �A of D� is to be the �Roman armies� [or more precisely for the Greek term stratoped�n = �legions or (military) camps, i.e., army divisions�] (neuter plural - Luke 21:20). Here, succinctly, are my main supporting points for this understanding. (All exegetical points are contributive to final translation from the Greek:
Morphologically: Istemi is a (class v-6) mi-declension and in the perfect active participle its inflection are identical in the masculine singular accusative, nominative neuter plural, and accusative neuter plural. (Cf. Gerald Stevens, NT Greek, 365, 367, Mounce, Morphology, 314, 315) This therefore, by at least the possible occurrence of construction ad sensum, allows for either one of these to be applicable.
Contextually: Luke�s account of the Olivet discourse appears to be Christ�s originally worded/straightforward statement to his disciples. Luke was writing a most personal letter, to a �Roman Official� who evidently was quite sympathetic to Christianity, and quite apparently wanted to convert to it, (hence this informational history by Luke), and apparently did convert as the dropping of �Most Excellent� in Luke subsequent letter to him of Acts may suggest (Acts 1:1). Therefore Luke was not afraid to be straightforward with him and relate, verbatim, this most striking prophetical statement of Christ. On the other hand, it appears that Matthew and Mark chose to �encrypt� Christ�s plain statement in their more (intended) open letter accounts, written for Jewish and Roman audiences, respectively, for reasons of not attracting unwanted legal/state attention to themselves, if they so plainly spoke of the Roman Armies actions against the Jewish capital city. This encryption can be seen in the statement �let the reader understand�. (Cf. Paul�s similar masking in 2 Thess 2:3-7ff speaking of the then ruling Roman Empire that would be replaced by ecclesiastical (Papal) rulers = Dan. 7:17ff).
So Mark could just as easily have chosen to encrypt Christ�s (=Luke�s) plain statement of �(Roman) armies� with the neuter plural estekota.
-The titular rendition of �Abomination of Desolation� though quite convenient and ingrained by long time mention, is not a normal/default reading here and would in fact be the only time that such an �article-accusative noun-article-genitive noun� construction is rendered as a title and not simply as a regular prose. The expression is indeed specific here as the articles indicate, but is merely referring to specific/known terms. It is thus solely referring to �the most abhorring part of the desolation that was spoken by Daniel the prophet.� And this �abomination = most abhorring part� was �the end in an overflowing war and utter physical destruction.� (Dan 9:26b) (Interpretative conclusion here from an independently done studied. Available for viewing if needed)
-The (anarthrous) �a place (topos) that is holy� (Matt 24:15) could easily include the area just beyond the walls of Jerusalem which served as an open square where judicial cases where heard and decided. So it would have been violated by the Roman armies setting up camp, and their siege works there, starting with the military contingent under Cestus in 66 A.D. (Cf. Philip Mauro, Seventy Weeks, 94)
-The term �standing� does not only have to describe �a physical posture of a person,� but is also used to refer to things �being/remaining established, set up� e.g., Matt 12:25, 26; Acts 17:31; cf. Jos 5:13, 2 Sam 20:12; Isa 17:5, also Tobith 5:4 LXX, even �confirmed� (Matt 18:16)) among many more examples).
-In fact, from my studies, the 2nd form for istemi as istano seems to be strictly intended/used for the sense of �being established� vs. mere �standing (posture).�
Also, syntactically, as D. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics shows:
- The possible nominative case participle can indeed be a constructio ad sensum. (GGBTB, 652)
-As a nominative, it can also be functioning as a Nominative Absolute (nominativus pendens) as it �enunciates the logical, and not grammatical, subject (i.e., the �armies� of Luke 21:20) (GGBTB, 654) =these ones (the armies).
The participle can be a �Participle of Means� in showing �by what means� one would come to �see the most abhorring part of the desolation spoken by Daniel,� i.e, �by the means of them having been established� (cf. GGBTB, 652)
HistoricallyJewish Christian were able to escape the siege on Jerusalem by escaping to the transjordanian city of Pella in northern Perea when they saw the first siege attempt of Cestus that was followed by a withdrawal, and heed Christ�s instructions in Luke 21:20, 21. Translation
All these contributing exegetical points lead to the following (new) understanding/translation of Mark 13:14:
�When you see the most abhorring part of the desolation that was spoken by the Prophet Daniel by the means of them (i.e., the Roman army divisions) having been established where they ought not (i.e., �in a place that is holy� Matt 24:15).
Matthew, probably writing after Mark and using that gospel as a source, also may have further encrypted that plain statement of Christ by using a neuter singular (thus �it� instead of �them�) and then adding the phrase: (�let the reader understand�). He also may have used the nominative (neuter singular) case for the same syntactical reasons mentioned above.
Let me know what you all think of this. If some points need further explanations let me know. I tried to be as concise as possible in this email.
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