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Come! Come! Let anyone come and take.

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  • Loren L. Johns
    On Revelation 22:17. I think it is highly likely that the Come in 17a (erchou) is addressed to Jesus. We have just read in v. 7, See, I am coming soon!
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 30, 2004
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      On Revelation 22:17.

      I think it is highly likely that the "Come" in 17a (erchou) is addressed to Jesus. We have just read in v. 7, "See, I am coming soon!" apparently addressed by Jesus, the Lamb. Then again in v. 12 we have, "See, I am coming soon!" again by Jesus, who calls himself the Alpha and the Omega (see 1:8, where this refers to God). Then in v. 16 we have, "It is I, Jesus, who ..." Just a few verses later (v. 20), we read, "The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." This clearly refers to Jesus. Then the writer adds his own invitation, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

      So the context seems clear enough: the one coming is Jesus. Actually erchomai is a fascinating verb in Revelation, always pregnant with possibility, whether it is God or humans who are coming.

      The first erchou in v. 17 is spoken by the Spirit and the bride.

      The great divide among commentators on this verse is whether all three imperative forms of erchomai must have the same referent (e.g., Beasley-Murray, Sweet, Roloff, Jeske, Aune in Harper's Bible Commentary, Barclay), or whether there is a shift of object for the imperative, so that the first two refer to Christ's coming, while the third refers to humans' coming (whether believers or unbelievers; e.g., Beckwith, Charles, Ladd, Mounce, Hughes, Card, Swete, Aune in his three-volume commentary). I basically agree with Beckwith, who argues that there is a "sudden turn" in the shift in the implied addressees, somewhat similar to the shifts we see in 13:9f. and 14:13f. Swete calls this "a remarkable change of reference" (p. 310). I think the expectation that all three erchomai imperatives must have the same referent is misplaced.

      I discuss this verse and the problem of the referents to erchomai in my essay, "Leaning Toward Consummation: Mission and Peace in the Rhetoric of Revelation," in BEAUTIFUL UPON THE MOUNTAINS: BIBLICAL ESSAYS ON MISSION, PEACE, AND THE REIGN OF GOD, ed. Mary H. Schertz and Ivan Friesen (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2003), pp. 249-268.

      The fascinating thing to me is that 17a sounds like straightforward narration, reporting that the Spirit and the Bride (the church) make an invitation to Jesus: "Come!" Then in 17b we shade from narration into invitation in which the hearer is invited by the writer to join in the invitation to Jesus: "Come!" Then in 17c we shade even further into an indirect address to the thirst (reader): "Let him or her come!" as only the Greek third person imperative can do.

      Here as elsewhere in Revelation, the coming of Jesus (eschatology) serves to inform the ethical program of the book.

      Loren Johns
      Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
      Elkhart, Indiana





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    • Dave Delaney
      Very helpful! Thanks! -Dave Delaney ... From: Loren L. Johns To: Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 2:06
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 30, 2004
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        Very helpful! Thanks!

        -Dave Delaney

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Loren L. Johns" <llj215@...>
        To: <revelation-list@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 2:06 PM
        Subject: [revelation-list] Come! Come! Let anyone come and take.


        >
        >
        > On Revelation 22:17.
        >
        > I think it is highly likely that the "Come" in 17a (erchou) is addressed
        > to Jesus. We have just read in v. 7, "See, I am coming soon!" apparently
        > addressed by Jesus, the Lamb. Then again in v. 12 we have, "See, I am
        > coming soon!" again by Jesus, who calls himself the Alpha and the Omega
        > (see 1:8, where this refers to God). Then in v. 16 we have, "It is I,
        > Jesus, who ..." Just a few verses later (v. 20), we read, "The one who
        > testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." This clearly
        > refers to Jesus. Then the writer adds his own invitation, "Amen. Come,
        > Lord Jesus!"
        >
        > So the context seems clear enough: the one coming is Jesus. Actually
        > erchomai is a fascinating verb in Revelation, always pregnant with
        > possibility, whether it is God or humans who are coming.
        >
        > The first erchou in v. 17 is spoken by the Spirit and the bride.
        >
        > The great divide among commentators on this verse is whether all three
        > imperative forms of erchomai must have the same referent (e.g.,
        > Beasley-Murray, Sweet, Roloff, Jeske, Aune in Harper's Bible Commentary,
        > Barclay), or whether there is a shift of object for the imperative, so
        > that the first two refer to Christ's coming, while the third refers to
        > humans' coming (whether believers or unbelievers; e.g., Beckwith, Charles,
        > Ladd, Mounce, Hughes, Card, Swete, Aune in his three-volume commentary). I
        > basically agree with Beckwith, who argues that there is a "sudden turn" in
        > the shift in the implied addressees, somewhat similar to the shifts we see
        > in 13:9f. and 14:13f. Swete calls this "a remarkable change of reference"
        > (p. 310). I think the expectation that all three erchomai imperatives must
        > have the same referent is misplaced.
        >
        > I discuss this verse and the problem of the referents to erchomai in my
        > essay, "Leaning Toward Consummation: Mission and Peace in the Rhetoric of
        > Revelation," in BEAUTIFUL UPON THE MOUNTAINS: BIBLICAL ESSAYS ON MISSION,
        > PEACE, AND THE REIGN OF GOD, ed. Mary H. Schertz and Ivan Friesen
        > (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 2003), pp. 249-268.
        >
        > The fascinating thing to me is that 17a sounds like straightforward
        > narration, reporting that the Spirit and the Bride (the church) make an
        > invitation to Jesus: "Come!" Then in 17b we shade from narration into
        > invitation in which the hearer is invited by the writer to join in the
        > invitation to Jesus: "Come!" Then in 17c we shade even further into an
        > indirect address to the thirst (reader): "Let him or her come!" as only
        > the Greek third person imperative can do.
        >
        > Here as elsewhere in Revelation, the coming of Jesus (eschatology) serves
        > to inform the ethical program of the book.
        >
        > Loren Johns
        > Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
        > Elkhart, Indiana
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------
        > Do you Yahoo!?
        > Yahoo! Mail - 250MB free storage. Do more. Manage less.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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