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ἀναζάω anazao - Revelation 20:5

Andrew - your comment on my reference to this word in Revelation 20:5 -

What Greek New Testament is that? Nestle-Aland (26th edition) does not even have that as a textual variant. According to BDAG the verb literally means to “be resurrected… of the dead”, but gives Revelation 20:5 as an Erasmian reading “without known ms. evidence”; it is also given as variant in Romans 14:9 for Christ’s resurrection. So there is no distinction between the two uses zaō.

Just to clear up the muddle - the Greek New Testament I was using is the Stephens (1550) text, which became the so-called textus receptus published by Elzevir in 1611. It is based on the Erasmian 1516 Greek New Testament, which supposedly contains up to 2,000 variations from the Majority uncial compilation text (generally recognised as the best yardstick for translation). Erasmus was apparently guided by the Latin Vulgate text in producing his Greek text, and, it seems, sometimes corrected his Greek version according to that text.

So it's possible that BDAG have this in mind in the comment you have quoted, but it is surprising that Nestle-Aland don't quote it as a textual variant - even if it was an invention of Erasmus, or followed the Vulgate.

ἀναζάω also appears in Luke 15:24 and 32, the lost son, who "was dead and is now alive again", Romans 7:9 - "sin revived"; Romans 14:9 - "Christ revived/returned to life", to which Stephens and textus receptus add anistēmi, "rose". So "resurrection as physical life after death is not really implied by the word.

All of this is to say that whatever form of zao appears in Revelation 20:5, the word is also used of those in 4c-d, who, I argue, form a different group from those of 4a seated on the thrones, and from the beheaded martyrs of 4b, the kai punctuation separating the groups in each case. Eidon - I saw (4a) is implied as an introduction to the second and third groups (4b, 4c), though most translations include it in the second group. If there are to be at least two groups distinctly separated in this way, there is reason to argue for a third group. So you would have:

1. And/kai I saw thrones and they sat upon them, and a sentence was given to them

2. And/kai (I saw) the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus and through the word of God

3. And/kai (I saw) those who did not do homage to the beast etc

The Greek may be fast and furious here, but does it lead us to suppose there is only one group in view, by the way it is laid out? And if two groups, why not a third?

Which then creates the possibility that all three groups were part of one body living and reigning with Christ 1000 years (4d), where the 1000 suggests victory as much as time, but would apply to the living and the dead if the living later died and joined the departed martyrs.

"The rest of the dead" - 5:20a would then be those not belonging to any of these groups, but specifically those who fought against the rider on the white horse and his armies (19:11-21).

If there was only one group, the departed martyrs, then we would have a strangely unique category of martyrs who live in their resurrection bodies after death, while the remaining faithful eventually join their enemies in death, only to be raised with them after the 1000 years. The martyrs are thus an exception to any rule of non-existence after death, which you are otherwise promoting, Andrew.

Doesn't it also seem odd that faithful non-martyred believers should be separated from their martyred brethen, and share the fate of their enemies after death, if this scenario is followed through consistently?

Doug needs to supply evidence for the claim that the entire verse of Revelation 20:5 is an editor's interpolation. I'd be interested to know where that idea comes from.  It would certainly solve a few difficulties!




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