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COMING VERSUS PRESENT

 

The words translated as "come" or "coming" in the common translations have not normally been rendered accurately.  In this study we will look at these two forms of this one Greek word, and at a word that is a synonym.

 

The first word, which is normally found in the Greek lexicons and dictionaries in the form of the 1st person, singular, is ERCHOMAI.  Its basic meaning is: come; go.

 

The present tense in the Greek language primarily signifies continued, repeated, habitual or progressive action, and within context can signify something that was presently happening.  We find this partly presented correctly in the Amplified Bible in Mt. 7:7-8,

            Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on

            knocking and the door will be opened to you.

            For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds and to him

            who keeps on knocking it will be opened.

What is not fully rendered are present indicatives in verse 8 (receives; finds).  These should also be given the force of the Greek present tense, e.g.: keeps on receiving – or: presently receives; habitually receives; repeatedly receives; progressively receives.  The same applies to the verb "finds."  Kenneth Wuest's Expanded Translation renders all the verbs and participles accurately in these two verses.

 

Unfortunately, the meaning of the present tense is seldom presented in the common versions.  We will now consider how these two versions rendered the present participle of our word ERCHOMAI in Rev. 1:4 and 1:8.

Amplified: "is to come."

Wuest: "is coming."

The Amplified (with most other translations) gives a present participle rendered as an infinitive; Wuest renders it correctly as a participle, but gives no sense of the kind of action that the verb indicates: continual or habitual, etc.

 

We will now look at some translations ERCHOMAI in the present tense, and HEKO in the future tense.  First is the present participle:

Rev. 1:4, "the One Who was, and continued being, and the One Who is continuously (or: repeatedly; habitually; progressively) coming or going..."

Rev. 1:8, "the One Who was and continued being, and the One presently and continuously (or: progressively) coming and going..."

 

These renderings of "coming or going" or "coming and going" give a very different understanding of what is being said.  But before we form any conclusions, let us look further.  Note that I have presented both meanings of the verb.

Rev. 2:16, "You must change mind (your way of thinking), therefore!  Yet if not, I am repeatedly (habitually) coming swiftly in you (to you; for you) [note: the 'you,' is singular], and I will wage war (do battle) with them within the broadsword of My mouth."

Rev. 3:3, "Continuously keep watch (or: Guard [it]) and change your way of thinking, [and turn to God].  If ever, then, you should not be watching, I will (or: may) arrive upon you as a thief, and under no circumstances would you know what hour I will (or: may) arrive upon you."  Here the word "arrive" is HEKO.

 

Within the context of the 1st century churches to which John sent this letter, ch. 2:1 has a revealing verb in the present tense: "the One CONTINUOUSLY WALKING ABOUT within the midst of the seven golden lampstands..."  In 1:20 we have the identity of these lampstands: the "churches," or "called-out communities."  The resurrected Christ is continuously walking among our midst!  This is the reason that I translated ch. 1:8, above, "coming and going."  Does this not recall what Jesus said in Mt. 18:20?

            "You see, where there are two or three people that have been led and gathered together into My Name, I am there (in that place) within the midst of them."

That place is the gathering of the ecclesia, the "church."

 

In John 14:18 we have Jesus' promise:

            "I will not leave you abandoned or send you off as orphaned ones (or: folks without family).  I am repeatedly (or: habitually) and now progressively coming toward you people."

Then in vs. 23 we have:

            "... and My Father will love him, and, facing toward him, We will come to him and will be

            making (constructing; forming; creating; producing) a home (an abode; a dwelling place;

            a place to stay) with him (or: at his side and in his presence)."
Here we have a future tense of the verb ERCHOMAI, "come."  But note the circumstance and requirement for this, stated in the first part of the verse:

            "If anyone continues (or: may be habitually) loving Me, he will be constantly watching

            over so as to observe, guard, preserve and keep My word (My thought, idea and

            message)..."

So Jesus said that anyone who does this has the promise of Jesus and the Father making their abode with him.

 

Returning to Rev. 3, we have this promise in vs. 20:

            “Consider!  I have stood, and continue standing upon the door (entrance), and I am

            constantly knocking; if ever anyone may (or: can) hear My voice (or: sound) and would

            open the door, I will enter (come or go in) toward him, and I will eat the evening meal with

            him, and he with Me.”

This was a present situation in the church of Laodicea, one of the communities to which this letter was sent.  This was not some future event, unless we place an artificial construction upon the plain reading of the text.  As it pertained to them at that time, so it pertains to us.  He walks in our midst, and when necessary knocks on the door of the gathering, seeking a covenant meal with us.

 

Now let us move to Rev. 21:3-4,

"Consider!  God’s tent (the Tabernacle of God) [is] with mankind (the humans), ‘and He will live in a tent (dwell in a Tabernacle) with them, and they will be (will exist being) His people, and God Himself will be with them [some MSS add: their God]. [Lev. 26:11-12; Isa. 7:14; 8:8, 10; Jer. 31:33; Ezk. 37:27; 2 Chr. 6:18]

            And He will anoint (smear; or:  wipe away) every tear from their eyes.  And death will no   longer exist (or: the death shall be no more) – neither will mourning (sadness; grief), nor an outcry, nor hard work (painful toil; misery) exist any longer ([they] will be no more), because the FIRST THINGS went (or: passed) away."

These verses are traditionally set as speaking of a future time and event, but note all the OT references in vs. 3: these reference Israel's history, but point to the fulfillment in the Messiah.  Note that there ARE tears in the context of vs. 4, above, but He promises to wipe them away, or anoint them.  Now look at the last phrase of vs. 4: "the first things went, or passed, away."  This is an echo of Paul in 2 Cor. 5:17,

            "Consequently, since someone [is] within Christ (or: if anyone [is] in union with [the] Anointed One), [there is] a new creation (or: [it is] a framing and founding of a different kind; [he or she is] an act of creation having a fresh character and a new quality): the original things (the beginning [situations]; the archaic and primitive [arrangements]) passed by (or: went to the side).  Consider!  New things have come into existence (have been birthed; or: It has become new things; or: He has been birthed and now exists being ones of a different kind, character and quality)."

The last clause here carries us back to Rev. 21:5 where the verb "make" is in the present tense.

 

The tabernacle later became the temple, in Israel's story.  So in 1 Cor. 3:16 we have Paul saying,

"Have you folks not seen, and know, that you people continuously exist being God's Temple (Divine habitation; holy place and holy of holies; inner sanctuary), and God's Spirit is constantly dwelling (God's Breath is making Its home; the Wind which is God is housing Himself; the Attitude from God is progressively co-habiting) within the midst of you folks?"

This is a present existing situation and realm of being!

 

In Eph. 2:22, Paul puts it this way:

            "within the midst of (or: in union with) Whom you folks, also, are continuously and progressively being formed a constituent part of the structure (or: being built together into a house) – into God's down-home place (place of settling down to dwell; abode; permanent dwelling) within [the] Spirit (or: in spirit; or: in the midst of a Breath-effect and an attitude)."

Speaking of "dwelling," Jesus told His disciples that a branch needs to dwell and remain within Him (John 15:4-5).  He has many branches (or: members, as Paul put it in 1 Cor. 12:12, and He is the Head of those member-branches, as in Col. 1:8).

Col. 1:27 tell us that Christ within us IS the expectation of the manifestation which calls forth praise (or: the expectant hope of glory).  At the same time we are told in Eph. 2:6,

            "He jointly roused and raised (or: suddenly awakens and raises) [us] up, and caused [us] to sit (or: seats [us]) together within the things situated upon [thus, above] the heavens within and in union with Christ Jesus."

 

Then in Col. 3:

            1.  Since, therefore, you folks were awakened and are raised up together in the Christ (or: If, then, you are aroused and raised with the Anointed One), be constantly seeking and trying to find the upward things (or: the things being above), where the Christ is (exists being), continuously sitting within the right [side] (or: at the right [hand]; = at the place of receiving, and in the place of honor and the power) of God.

 

            4.  Whenever the Christ, our life [other MSS: your life], may be brought to light (or: should be manifested), you folks also will be brought to light (will be manifested), together with Him, within the midst of glory (or: in union with a manifestation which calls forth praise; or: in a good reputation; or: = in His manifest presence).

            (or: When Christ, the Anointing, can be manifested, then your life – even you yourself, together with Him – will be manifested in His manifest presence).

This second alternate rendering of vs. 4 means that whenever your life manifests Christ, then your own life will also be set in clear light and manifested, together with Him, in that situation.  This applies to right now.

 

Next we proceed to a 1st century situation, noted by Paul concerning himself, in Gal. 1:16, where he says, "to unveil (reveal; uncover; disclose) His Son within the midst of me."  He uses the same word in regard to all God's sons in Rom. 8:19,

            For the looking away and watching with the head stretched forward alertly (or: peak expectation; premonition; intuitive opinion; or: = the concentrated and undivided focus) of the creation is constantly receiving and taking away from out of the unveiling of God’s sons (or: = the uncovering and revealing of folks who have the character and qualities of God).

 

The compound verb which I have rendered "constantly receiving and taking away from out of" is the word DECHOMAI, which means: to take into one's hands; to receive.  To this verb is prefixed two prepositions which modify the verb: APO (away from) and EK (from out of).  This word is wrongly translated as "looking for, or awaiting" in the common versions.  We have this same word again in vs. 23, where it states that, "we ourselves also continually sigh and groan within (in the center of) ourselves, continuously accepting, and with our hands taking away from out of, sonship (the open recognition and placing as a son; the setting in position of one having the quality and character of the Father; the placing in the Son; or: = technical adoption [Greek or Roman law])."

Rightly rendering this word also gives a different understanding to Heb. 9:28 which ends a chapter that has been speaking of the work of our Chief Priest, Jesus, and His finished work on the cross, in which He fulfilled once and for all the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement.  I have translated this verse as follows:

 

            28.  so also, the Christ – being once borne (or: carried) close into the many (or: being offered once unto and for the many) to carry failures (errors; sins mistakes; deviations; misses of the target) back up again – will be made visible (will be seen) forth from out of the midst of the second [place (cf 9:3,7 & 10:9; {comment: = the holy of holies})] – apart from failure (apart from sin; apart from a sin offering; apart from error in attempting to hit the target) – IN those (or: BY those; to those; for those) habitually receiving (or: progressively taking) from out of the midst of Him, [progressing] into a deliverance (or: [leading] into a rescue; with a view to health and wholeness; into the midst of salvation).

 

Much of what applies to us now has been erroneously postponed to some future time, robbing us of our present enjoyment of our inheritance in Christ.  The Lord constantly comes to us, yet is also continuously present with us.

 

Another word that has sometimes been mistranslated "coming" is the Greek PAROUSIA.  This word is composed of "ousia," which is a present participle of the word "to be; to exist," and means "being."  Prefixed to this is the preposition "para," which means "beside; along side of," so "parousia" means being alongside, or, being present – as opposed to being absent.  But this is for another study.

 

To God be the glory,

 

Jonathan

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GOD'S MESSAGE OF

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