Westcott and Hort / [NA27 variants] Rev 11:15 Καὶ ὁ ἕβδομος ἄγγελος ἐσάλπισεν· καὶ ἐγένοντο φωναὶ μεγάλαι ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, λέγοντες Ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ κόσμου τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, καὶ βασιλεύσει εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.

English translations usually render this in a way that makes this about the commencement of both the rule of God and of the messiah and yet they use a singular pronoun to refer to both: "and he shall reign forever and ever". The NIV is typical in this regard:

New International Version The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever."

While this is perfectly acceptable (and even highly desirable) Trinitarian Greek grammar it is horrible Koine grammar. How would someone render this passage into Koine? And how should it be properly understood?

Disclaimer: I have no formal education in Koine.

This is how I would translate it. Is this legitimate Koine?:

And the seventh angel sounded his horn and there were loud voices in the sky saying "The reign of our LORD over the world and over his Christ has begun and he will rule for ever and ever".

Is this not better koine since the pronoun and its referent agree?

See related:

Since Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father, in what way will he reign forever and ever? (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)

  • My understanding is that, most certainly, after the final enthronement of God, in Christ, in new heavens and new earth, the nations will continue to have kings. Yes, indeed. They will be together, for ever and ever, with Diabolos and all his demons in a lake of fire as the Apocalypse makes abundantly clear. – Nigel J May 29 at 14:31
  • 1
    I find the question problematic: (1) You admit to no formal Koine training, but question the grammar choice made by professional translators with formal Koine training, (2) vaguely implying the NIV (and every other English version) fudged their translations for a pro-trinitarian result. (3) The traditional translation is not distinctly pro-trinitarian. Parallels are found in the DSS and apocalyptic lit. (4) The author of Rev probably didn't know Luke or 1 Cor, so citing them to defend a particular interpretation toes the line of 'systematic theology', in my opinion, which is off-topic. – Mark Edward May 29 at 15:42
  • 2
    When I look at the Greek, I see: 'the world's kingdom became our Lord's and his messiah's, and he will reign into the ages of the ages'. I don't see anything in this that screams 'trinity'. – Mark Edward May 29 at 15:45
  • @MarkEdward Who is the referent of "he"? – Ruminator May 29 at 15:49
  • Your "question" would be improved if you deleted your answer. – Revelation Lad May 30 at 5:23

Translation
In his commentary Henry Alford gives this analysis (his emphasis):

The Kingdom of the world (i.e. over this world: ἡ βασιλεία abstract. In the received text, reading αἱ βασιλεῖαι, it is the kingdoms, concrete, of the world) is become (aor., but alluding to the result of the whole series of events past, and not to be expressed in English except by a perfect) our Lord’s and of His Christ (no supply such as “the Kingdom,” is required: nor is this the case even in the rec. text. The gen. in both cases is one merely of possession), and He (no emphasis on He, as we are almost sure to lay on it, perhaps from the accent unavoidable in the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel) shall reign to the ages of the ages (this announcement necessarily belongs to the time close on the millennial reign: and this is no more than we might expect from the declaration of the strong angel in ch. X. 7) 1

Charles Ellicott adds to Alford's observations stating the Greek does not support placing emphasis on the pronoun "He" in "reigns:"

...our familiarity with the “Hallelujah Chorus” tempted us to put an emphasis on the word He which is not sanctioned by the Greek; it is the reign of the Lord which is the prominent thought. 2

Perhaps the best way to achieve the proper understanding is to remove “He" which may be implied but is not present:

The kingdom (βασιλεία) of the world is become our Lord’s and of His Christ and shall reign (βασιλεύσει) to the ages of ages.

βασιλεία is "not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom." 3 In other words, it is the kingship (βασιλεία) being celebrated by the voices and the implication is there is a coregency of "our Lord and His anointed (see below)."

Understanding
Heavenly speaking (voices) after the seventh trumpet follows the pattern of the seals and bowls:

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (8:1) [ESV]

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying… (11:15)

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (16:7)

In terms of voices in heaven, there is a progression toward the single voice. Given the knowledge there are many voices which can speak, we can say these voices which spoke after the seventh trumpet were silent after the seventh seal (and again after the seventh bowl).

After the many voices make their proclamation additional speaking follows:

And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying... (11:16-17)

This is the sequence of speaking after a seventh item:

Seventh Seal       Many voices and Elders are silent   One voice is silent
Seventh Trumpet    Many voices say...                  One voice is silent
                   24 Elders say...                    One voice is silent
Seventh Bowl       Many voices and Elders are silent   One voice says "It is done!"

What is said should be considered in light of who is speaking and what they are doing, but the identity of the many voices is not given. Whether the 24 elders were included is not stated (seemingly they are not as speaking appears to always be attributed to a source). Regardless, before speaking, the 24 elders get off their thrones and are never again described as sitting on or having thrones.

This is particularly relevant in context: following the many voices celebrating the reign in verse 15, the 24-elders leave their thrones (θρόνους). And they remain off for the remainder of the book. Thus, after the seventh item, John has also described a progression involving thrones:

Seventh Seal       All thrones are occupied
Seventh Trumpet    Many Voices proclaim the reign
                   24 Elders leave their thrones
Seventh Bowl       One Voice from the throne

When the 24 elders leave their thrones, they direct their message to a single entity:

...“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” (11:17-18)

This is addressed to Jesus Christ: He is the one who is and was and has begun to reign. He is the one who judges all things. He is the one who came to destroy the works of the devil and all those destroyers of the earth.

Therefore, in terms of the reign (v. 15), "our Lord" is referring to Jesus The Christ (as everywhere else in the New Testament) and His "christ" or anointed, would be King David.

The many voices should be understood as acknowledging the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant with coregents:

The kingdom of the world is become our Lord’s [Jesus Christ] and of His anointed/christ [King David] and shall reign to the ages of ages.

Thus both the pattern and type of King David's final reign mirrors its beginning:

Beginning                 Ending
The anointed King Saul    The Anointed Jesus
The anointed King David   The anointed King David

Psalm 2
The LXX rendering of Psalm 2 has the nearly identical phrase "the Lord and his anointed" and some versions include the superscription (absent in the MT) stating it is a Psalm to David:

A psalm to David. Why did nations neigh, and peoples meditate upon vain things? The kings of the earth stood by, and the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his anointed. (Psalm 2:1-2 ABP)

ψαλμός τω Δαυίδ ινατί εφρύαξαν έθνη και λαοί εμελέτησαν κενά παρέστησαν οι βασιλείς της γης και οι άρχοντες συνήχθησαν επιτοαυτό κατά του κυρίου και κατά του χριστού αυτού

του κυρίου ημών και του χριστού αυτού (Revelation 11:15)

The only difference is the voices in Revelation call "the Lord", "the Lord of ours."

The ABP also has a textual variant from the NU and M text at verse 11:17:

λέγοντες ευχαριστούμέν σοι κύριε ο θεός ο παντοκράτωρ ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχόμενος ότι είληφας την δύναμίν σου την μεγάλην και εβασίλευσας

The phrase "ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχόμενος" is a clear connection to Jesus (cf. Revelation 1:4, 1:8, and 4:8) and some manuscripts were made to make the connection between the Lord God Almighty (v. 17) and Jesus clearer.


Note:
1. Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, Volume IV, Moody Press, 1863, p. 665
2. Charles J. Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers
3. βασιλεία

  • @Ruminator 1. Ellicott says "the word He is not sanctioned by the Greek." 2. Nowhere do I say David is Jesus Christ. I am simply recognizing the reign must include the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. "Our Lord" is Jesus. (I think it obvious the saints in heaven would call Jesus "Lord" as they do everywhere else.) His "christ" (i.e. His anointed) is King David. The voices in heaven are celebrating the fulfillment of the promise to David. – Revelation Lad May 31 at 2:28
  • So "his Christ" means "Jesus' Christ"? IE: "his (Jesus') Christ" is David? The phrase is "his Christ". And you're saying that "his" is Jesus and "Christ" is David. I think you're not owning up to the phraseology which is "his Christ" not "the Davidic king". – Ruminator May 31 at 2:31
  • I see, "he" is implied in the conjugation but is not explicit. Maybe you can supply some documentation on the principle of "sanctioning" because I'm not familiar with that. Thanks. – Ruminator May 31 at 2:37
  • Also I notice that verse 17 and 18 are after the subjugation of the nations, not at the start: "The nations raged, but your wrath came" seems a clear allusion to Psalm 2: Psa 2:1 Why do the heathen rage..? ... Psa 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Psa 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. – Ruminator May 31 at 3:13
  • Compare: and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. with: – Ruminator May 31 at 3:47

Revelation 11:15
Here is what I get from the Greek:

Then the seventh angel sounded and loud voices arose in heaven, saying, "The realm of the world has been made that of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."

Details: enter image description here

The KJV has "The kingdoms of this world are become" for Ἐγένετο ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ κόσμου, but βασιλεία is singular and Ἐγένετο is causal. So I have given "The realm of the world has been made" to better reflect what I see in the Greek.

  • "the world" could not have been understood by the writer as the planet earth (not having the technology to see it as it is now seen), but rather as the ground upon which living beings might stand/walk, i.e. any/all "territory" upon which man might set his foot and over which he exercises his authority. So, at our end of the time-line, the moon would be subsumed into such a notion of "the world", and as also Mars will eventually be (if man's time extends that far, of course). Also, since "the world" is not one territory, but is divided by many kingdoms/dominions, then "realm" becomes a better choice for βασιλεία here than "kingdom".

  • Daniel records this:

    26But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
    -- Daniel 7:26-27 (KJV)

    So he who has had dominion over the "realm of the world" will have it taken from him and it will be given to "the people of the saints". The "realm of the world" won't just "become" that of the Lord and his Christ, but will be "caused to become", i.e. it will be taken by force.

τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ is a genitive expression, which Corey Keating categorises as the "Possessive Genitive", since the "of" can be replaced by "belonging to". Hence the use of "that" in the translation of Revelation 11:15 above, to more clearly connect "the owned" with "the owner".


Now, to address the OPs problem regarding the "he" of Revelation 11:15, consider this: there are only two places in the NT where the expression καὶ βασιλεύσει occurs, here in Revelation 11:15 and the words of the angel to Mary in the Gospel of Luke:

30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign καὶ βασιλεύσει over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
-- Luke 1:30-33 (KJV)

John was likely never privy to the Gospel of Luke, but readers of today are, so it can be used to clear up any ambiguity they might find in John's words of Revelation 11:15.

Given that John has made no attempt to identify clearly who "he" refers to (for readers many, many centuries later), then it can be safely assumed that at the time it was obvious to those for whom Greek was a natural language, "he" was unambiguously a reference to the Lord's Christ, i.e. the manifestation of God in the flesh whose name was called Jesus.

Additional Comments

6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
-- Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)

Revelation 11:15 records that loud voices arose in heaven. Well, they are surely celebrating the fulfillment of this, and the zeal of the LORD has brought it about. If the LORD and all the host of heaven is rejoicing, then so too will all the world whose hearts are pleased by what pleases Him.

5And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
-- Revelation 19:5-6 (KJV)

Hallelujah! Praise the LORD! Our God reigns!

  • So your analysis of the Greek is that John ignored the conflict between the number between the pronoun and its referent because it was obvious? That everybody would figure it out on their own? Rather than having the referent be to almighty God who is clearly the subject who takes them as rain? That is special pleading. Period. – Ruminator Jun 1 at 14:43
  • @Ruminator You insist there is referent pronoun. There is no pronoun in the reign. It should be obvious John was purposeful to omit the pronoun to create a phrase where the reader must focus on the meaning and significance of the reign. It appears your insistence there is a pronoun is driven by an understanding you are bringing to the text (from other places) rather than what this text states. – Revelation Lad Jun 1 at 14:57
  • There is an explicit third person masculine pronoun in enegue's translation as well as in all the major English translations. There is an implied masculine third person pronoun in the Greek. There must be agreement. How is it exegesis to ignore the rules of koine? – Ruminator Jun 1 at 23:14
  • Jesus does indeed rule for ever over Israel and I clearly said as much. But God alone rules over the kingdom of the world including the messiah who is henceforth just one more subject king of the LORD. – Ruminator Jun 1 at 23:17
  • @Ruminator I have joined your chat with Revelation Lad – enegue Jun 1 at 23:54

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