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Revelation 10:5-6 says,

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer” (KJV)

My question centers on the angelic phrase, “there should be time no longer”. I seek to learn about the history of that text, for old translations speak of time being no longer, but new translations speak of “there shall be no more delay”. When, and why, did that change occur?

Some say that the KJV means the proclamation of prophetic time while others say the KJV means the end of time when eternity starts. Some say that the new translations mean the time gap from Christ’s return to heaven and his return to earth will not be delayed any longer. But I do not want answers going into such interpretations of what the phrase means. I want answers that will deal with the Greek text and why modern translations seem to avoid the Greek word for ‘time’, substituting it with ‘delay’.

This strikes me as eyebrow-raising, and could account for clashing interpretations, but – I repeat – I do not want interpretations. I want clarity on why, when the Greek text in all Interlinears that I have state ‘time,’ modern translations say ‘delay’ in the English column.

Edit added 11/8/21 in response to many answers claiming chronos can include the idea of a limited period, so that 'delay' is warranted. Appendix 195 of 'The Companion Bible' (Bullinger) says

(1) chronos, time, duration unlimited unless defined..." (2) kairos, a certain limited and definite portion of chronos, the right time or season..."

Here's my point. The word 'kairos' was not chosen by the angel speaking to John. The inspired text has 'chronos'. Why would some translators decide that they have chosen a better word than did the angel?

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  • 1
    Excellent! excellent! question :)
    – Tony Chan
    Aug 7 '21 at 13:37
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    'Time shall be no longer' (or very close wording) is found in Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthews, Great Bible, Geneva, Bishop's, Webster's, Young's Literal, Green's Literal and KJV. From 1382 to 1769.. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Aug 7 '21 at 15:42
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    As @NigelJ says 'Time shall be no longer' was a popular and is still a popular rendering for today. Good Q. (Up -voted +1.) Aug 7 '21 at 15:59
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    This is one of those questions I feel this site should be for (but so often isn't).
    – fumanchu
    Aug 7 '21 at 17:30
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    Finding an answer to this question is one of the reasons I appreciate the NET Bible, because it at least occasionally gives references for its decisions. In this case, it says "On this phrase see BDAG 1092 s.v. χρόνος." And indeed the 3rd BDAG entry says "a period during which someth. is delayed". However, it then refers to a dozen ancient texts and a dozen scholarly papers from 1904-1969 to support its claim about Rev 10:6. Hopefully, someone with more resources and free time can find and summarize them.
    – fumanchu
    Aug 7 '21 at 17:37
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"Delay" is a mistranslation. Consider other verses in the New Testament where this same Greek word (chronos) is used.

There are only six other verses that use the exact same form of this word (nominative masculine singular noun). Here they are:

And he asked his father, How long is it ago (chronos) since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. (Mark 9:21, KJV)

Now Elisabeth's full time (chronos) came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. (Luke 1:57, KJV)

But when the time (chronos) of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt, (Acts 7:17, KJV)

And when he was full forty years old (chronos), it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. (Acts 7:23, KJV)

And what shall I more say? for the time (chronos) would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (Hebrews 11:32, KJV)

For the time (chronos) past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: (1 Peter 4:3, KJV)

As anyone can readily see, the word "delay" could not possibly fit into the context of any of these verses. It would be grammatically problematic, in addition to "delay" being a questionable meaning for "chronos" to begin with--it is only "by implication" according to Strong's lexicon.

This grammatical difficulty with "delay" is seemingly the backdrop of the question, which consisted, in part, of the following:

Some say that the KJV means the proclamation of prophetic time while others say the KJV means the end of time when eternity starts. Some say that the new translations mean the time gap from Christ’s return to heaven and his return to earth will not be delayed any longer. But I do not want answers going into such interpretations of what the phrase means. I want answers that will deal with the Greek text and why modern translations seem to avoid the Greek word for ‘time’, substituting it with ‘delay’.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a pure translation. Anyone who has studied other languages or how to translate between languages will know that there is always a certain amount of interpretation involved. While the question seeks to have no interpretation involved in the answers, this is an impossible request because the Biblical translations themselves are based on interpretations.

But does the context of the verse give us any clues? Proper hermeneutics means looking to see how the Bible will interpret itself, rather than resorting merely to commentaries.

The question considered several possible interpretations:

  1. The KJV means the proclamation of prophetic time.
  2. The KJV means the end of time when eternity starts.
  3. The new translations mean the time gap from Christ’s return to heaven and his return to earth will not be delayed any longer.

Let's look at these on the basis of Scripture.

The Proclamation of Prophetic Time

This interpretation is the most consistent with the rest of scripture. First, as pointed out above, the word "delay" cannot be used without grammatical difficulty in this context. Secondly, the word "time" in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament is frequently connecting to a prophetic time. The books of Daniel and Revelation are especially focused on time prophecies and the proclamation of times, like the 1260 years, the 2300 years, etc.

The End of Time when Eternity Starts

This proposition is somewhat ambiguous and may be taken in two ways.

To assume eternity has not yet begun would be to invalidate texts that place an eternity of time already in the past, such as Isaiah 57:15:

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy . . . (Isaiah 57:15, KJV)

If God inhabits eternity, then how would God exist pre-eternity?

But assuming, likely more correctly, that the focus here is on specifically the eternity future to be inherited by the saints at Christ's coming, this proposed interpretation appears to state that time will not exist in that eternity future. This, however, makes no sense. Why would time stop in order for eternity to begin? What is "eternity" if it is not time?

The context of the prior texts and the very next one may be helpful:

  • And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Revelation 10:4, KJV)
  • And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, (Revelation 10:5, KJV)
  • ...
  • But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7, KJV)

At the point that the seventh angel begins to sound, . . . It doesn't say the seventh-angel has finished his work. It does imply that time existed prior, as there must have been six angels before the seventh which have perhaps done their work already. The "servants the prophets" calls to mind the language of Amos 2:7.

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7, KJV)

In the past, God would often tell His people when something would happen, revealing to us the "secret" of the future. These times that were foretold were prophetic times.

The End of the Delay of Christ's Return

While the Bible speaks of people saying "my Lord delayeth his coming" there is no indication given that it is either true or that saying so is wise.

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (Luke 12:45-46, KJV)

If those who say their Lord's coming is delayed are counted as "unbelievers," it does not speak well for anyone who would attempt to say such a thing! Obviously, the Bible itself cannot contradict its own teachings and still be the word of God.

For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:37, KJV)

The Bible's teaching is clear: Jesus will not tarry; he will not delay his coming. We may be tempted to think that his coming is delayed, but we should never say that it is.

Hebrews 10:37, therefore, should settle the question. There is no delay. Revelation 10:6 cannot be speaking of a delay in Christ's second advent and yet be consistent with the rest of the scriptures.

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  • You state that "hermeneutics means looking to see how the Bible will interpret itself" but it must also involve establishing what the biblical text actually says. Start with a wrong translation of a verse/word, and you will never get the Bible's own interpretation of itself. There is no dispute as to the Greek 'chronos' being in the text in question. 'Time' is the English translation. Once that is in the verse in English, then we can start to consider related verses in order to interpret the meaning of them all. Agreed: there will be no delay in Christ's 2nd advent; but that verse says 'time'.
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 17:25
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    @Anne Your question was specifically focused on that "wrong translation of a verse/word" which is why I answered that question. I'm glad you agree that "delay" is the wrong translation. That was the focus of this answer because, as you pointed out in the question, many translations now incorrectly go with the word "delay" over "time." Basically, the translators don't understand the text. They can't make sense of it with "time" so they put in something that sounds better to them...but in the process, they muddle the meaning and true significance of the text.
    – Polyhat
    Aug 9 '21 at 22:38
  • Agreed, and I appreciate your reasoning, though you seem to think it's okay to then speak of 'prophetic time' re. that verse, when it only says 'time'. You go on to interpret what 'kind' of time ends, which is beyond the scope of my Q. Not that it's wrong to try to interpret the meaning of that angelic sentence! You've given great thought to the matter. And, as you say, Hebrews 10:37 is pertinent.
    – Anne
    Aug 19 '21 at 17:25
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This is one of many ambiguities where your theology will guide the proper translation.

Chronos can mean both time itself and a period of time, or a time delay, depending on context.

an indefinite period of time during which some activity or event takes place, time, period of time

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 1092). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Both readings are valid, with modern readings influenced by post-Enlightenment thinking as well as notions of classical physics (in which time is separate and independent of other physical quantities) and thus they tend to not want to think of "end of time itself" as the proper reading of Rev 10, given that it occurs in the middle of Revelation and they prefer to treat time linearly in texts and as something unaffected by happenings in the world. As Nigel pointed out, this is not resolved by the absence of a definite article. One can speak of a located delay or an unlocated delay, just as one can speak of a located time or an unlocated time. E.g. if one was speaking of time itself earlier, then one might want to locate it later. Same for a delay. So it is on purely philosophical grounds, rather than grammatical grounds, that moderns reject the traditional translation. Here is the NICOT explanation:

Most early writers interpret this statement as a metaphysical assertion about the end of time as a sequence of events. The translation in the AV (“There shall be time no longer”) reflects this interpretation.28 This is not the meaning of “time” (Gk. chronos) here. It would hardly be necessary for an angel to put himself under oath just to make an assertion about the timeless nature of eternity.

NICOT also includes the following footnote:

Cullmann (Christ and Time, 49) takes χρόνος in Rev 10:6 not as a reference to an era of timelessness, but in the sense of delay. The contrast between time and eternity is a philosophical notion and has no support in biblical theology.

Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 205). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

There are many such examples that account for differences between the KJV and modern translations that have nothing to do with textual differences or improved knowledge of Greek grammar. For example, whether Gal 2.20 refers to "faith of Christ" or "faith in Christ", again a philosophical difference not resolved by the grammar. And these differences tend to fall quite uniformly on one side or the other, which is a good reason to keep reading the KJV/Wycliffe and other pre-modern translations in order to get a pre-enlightenment, historical, traditional perspective on scripture even though in some (rare) cases there are textual, not interpretative issues at play.

Thus if you are looking for a grammatical solution you are going to be dissapointed as this is a problem of interpretation, regardless of how much the questionner wants a grammatical solution.

Many (if not most) early believers did believe that the second coming will occur at the "end of time" and did not read this phrase as referring to a time delay, as can be seen from the commentaries on Revelation that I will cite later in this answer. Thus the argument of the NICOT footnote about "time itself" having no place in biblical theology is at odds with the view of early Christians such as Justin Martyr, Eusebius, and Augustine, as well as with medieval Rabbis. This is a recurring problem for 20th Century commentaries as well as 20th C translations -- that is, modern theological academia -- as they are contradicting how the earliest Christians read these texts in the name of fidelity to those same Christians - in Revelation, in Galations, and many other places where ambiguous grammatical constructions are intepreted with a uniformly different meaning than what is given given in pre-modern Bible translations such as the Wycliffe or KJV. These differences for the most part have nothing to do with the greek source texts but are the result of reading the texts with a modernist eye.

Moreover today, there are certainly present-day believers that also hold to this view, taking "end times" to mean "the end of time", and the "last days" as literally the last days, and "end of time" in Jude 18 as literally the end of time. Indeed, if we believe that the heavens and earth will pass away and there will be a new heaven and new earth (e.g. a new universe), then it makes sense that space-time will be done away with and replaced with something else (a new spacetime? something completely different?), as modern man understands time itself be a physical characteristic of creation, just like space, and thus it too will be done away with if the old creation passes away, just as time was created as part of the old creation in Genesis (a view promulgated first by Augustine and then by medieval jewish rabbis such as Nachmanides). But the same modern man, when given the job of translators, insists that early Christians were primitive people who could not possible be thinking in terms of the difference between time and eternity, or that time would come to an end, nor do they accept any kind of sensus plenior with respect to scripture, and for these types of reasons they consistently choose the opposite interpretations of ambiguous constructions than what is chosen by pre-modern translations.

Indeed if you do not believe that the second coming is at the end of time, you will need to explain the language of "last day", "last days", "end time" used in many places as referring to just time delays, which begins to stretch credulity. Then you will also need to think of how the heavens and earth can pass away with time continuing on unaffected.

Early Christian commentaries on Rev 10.6

These are included to argue against the NICOT claim that the nature of time itself versus eternity has no place in Biblical Theology as the justification for only interpreting this as a delay and not a metaphysical change in time:

  • Andrew of Caesarea (6th C):

God swears by himself, since there is none greater than he. But the angels, being creatures, swear by the Creator, for due to our untrustworthiness, they are the guarantors of what is said by them. They swear either that in the coming age there will no longer be time which is measured by the sun, since eternal life is transcendent to temporal measure, or they swear that there is not much time after the six voices of the angel before the prophecies are fulfilled. COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 10:5–6.

Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (pp. 149–150). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Eusebius:

Towards the close of the first vision (chap. 10:6.) it is sworn that “there shall be time no longer:” in other words, nothing now remains of the predictions of Holy Writ, which shall require time for its fulfilment: and this is only an echo of Daniel (chap. 12:7.) where an oath to the same effect is sworn, declaring that, when the power of the holy people shall be scattered (abroad) “all these things shall be finished.” So also here (Rev. ib. ver. 7.), when the seventh Angel shall begin to sound (his trumpet) “the mystery of God shall be finished.”

Eusebius of Caesarea. (1843). Eusebius Bishop of Cæsarea on the Theophanīa or Divine Manifestation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (S. Lee, Trans.) (p. cxlviii). Cambridge; London: Cambridge University Press; Duncan and Malcolm.

In like manner (Rev. 10:6, 7) an oath is sworn, “that there shall be time no longer,” but that now, the mystery of God is finished, as He hath declared to his servants the prophets: when, again (Rev. 11:15) “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; who shall reign for ever and ever.”

Eusebius of Caesarea. (1843). Eusebius Bishop of Cæsarea on the Theophanīa or Divine Manifestation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (S. Lee, Trans.) (p. cxl). Cambridge; London: Cambridge University Press; Duncan and Malcolm.

Early Christian commentaries on Revelation

These are included to refute the NICOT interpretation that "end times" refers to "delay" as opposed to a change in the nature of time itself.

  • Victorinus of Petovium (3rd C):

[This passage] signifies the Holy Spirit who through two prophets proclaims that the great wrath of plagues is imminent. This occurs so that, although it is the end of time, someone might in some manner still be saved. COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 8:13.

Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 130). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

also

Concerning this [first] resurrection he says, “I saw the Lamb standing and with him—that is, standing with Christ—144,000.” He is speaking of those from the Jews who at the end of time will come to faith through the preaching of Elijah, and of these the Spirit testifies that they are virgin not only in body but also in language. COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 20:1.

Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 214). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Andrew of Caesarea (6th C):

These are the ones of whom David spoke: “I shall number them, and they will be more than the sand.” Namely, these are those who long ago struggled as martyrs for the sake of Christ and those from every tribe and tongue who will fight valiantly at the end of time. COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 7:9–10.

Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 111). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Tyconius (4th C):

For when he says that “he shall never go out of it,” he shows that at the end of time there will be a struggle. For it will happen that after unity there will be a final struggle in which there will be another separation. And wherever anyone will have been freed, he shall certainly not go out, and he shall remain in the house, not as a slave but as a son. And therefore God allowed those who were saved from the flood in the ark to go out, because until that time there was still time for returning from one’s sins. However, at the end of time it will not be allowed one any longer to come out, for whoever at that time will go out, will have not occasion for repentance. COMMENTARY ON THE APOCALYPSE 3:12.

Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (p. 47). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Apringius of Beja (6th C):

He says that he knows the work, the love, the faith, the service and the patience of his church. “And that your latter works exceed the first.” He indicates that at the end of time there will be a great number of saints, when, with the coming of the man of sin, the son of perdition, innumerable thousands of saints will be consecrated with their own blood. TRACTATE ON THE APOCALYPSE 2:19.

Weinrich, W. C. (Ed.). (2005). Revelation (pp. 34–35). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Early Christian commentaries on the end of time

These are included to refute the notion that the philosophical view of time versus eternity had no place in Biblical theology as believed by early Christians.

  • Augustine:

If we take the millennium and think of the end of that time as being the end of the world, we could say that it was the end of time in general, for a thousand years in God’s sight are like a single day. Because of this, anything that was done during the millennium could be spoken of as done at the end of time or on the last day. LETTERS 199.17.

Bray, G. (Ed.). (2000). James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude (p. 158). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Ignatius of Antioch (1st C):

THE COMING OF THE JUDGE. Christ died and rose again, and ascended into heaven to him who sent him, and sat down at his right hand, and will come at the end of time with his Father’s glory to judge the living and the dead.

Bray, G. (Ed.). (1998). Romans (Revised) (p. 56). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Oecumenius (6th C):

If someone asks why God created the world if all he intends to do is to destroy it, the answer is that the world will be renewed at the end of time.

Bray, G. (Ed.). (2000). James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude (p. 158). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Eusebius of Caesarea

For instance, Daniel the prophet, under the influence of the divine Spirit, seeing his kingdom at the end of time, was inspired thus to describe the divine vision in language fitted to human comprehension.… It is clear that these words can refer to no one else than to our Savior, the Word who was in the beginning with God, and who was called the Son of man because of his final appearance in the flesh.

Stevenson, K., & Gluerup, M. (Eds.). (2008). Ezekiel, Daniel (p. 237). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Ephrem the Syrian (4th C):

“For I know that my Redeemer lives and that at last he will be revealed upon the earth.” Here the blessed Job predicts the future manifestation of Emmanuel in the flesh at the end of time.

Simonetti, M., & Conti, M. (Eds.). (2006). Job (p. 105). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Ambrose (4th C):

In the pine cone nature seems to express an image of itself. It preserves its peculiar properties which it received from that divine and celestial command, and it repeats in the succession and order of the years its generation until the end of time is fulfilled. HEXAEMERON 3.16.68.

Louth, A., & Conti, M. (Eds.). (2001). Genesis 1–11 (p. 22). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Bede (7th C):

We cannot sin to the extent that we remain in Christ. John is speaking here about the vision and knowledge by which the righteous are able to enjoy God in this life, until they come to that perfect vision of him which will be revealed to them at the end of time. ON 1 JOHN.

Bray, G. (Ed.). (2000). James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude (p. 198). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Basil the Great (4th C):

We believe and confess that, rising on the third day from the dead, according to the Scriptures, he was seen by his holy disciples and others, as it is written. He ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father when he will come at the end of time to raise up all men and to render to each according to his works. CONCERNING FAITH.

Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 151). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Pope Gregory the Great (6-7th C):

The malice remaining in the world deserves no better than to have those who could be of profit quickly taken away. It is to spare the elect the sight of worse evils that they are removed when the end of time approaches.… It is not our belief, however, that all the elect are taken out of this world, leaving only the perverse to continue on, for sinners would never turn to sorrow and repentance if there were no good examples to motivate them.

Elliott, M. W. (Ed.). (2007). Isaiah 40–66 (p. 198). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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  • Again I am impressed with your writings. Although this answer may well be somewhat long, it absolutely answers the question, in no uncertain terms, at least IMO. It's an upvote from me, which will at least more than offset the anonymous, uncourteous, not in keeping with this site (take note everyone) downvote. Incidentally, I for one do not think that this world will end, as in be destroyed, but the end of this "System of Things", the world as we no it, will end. I see the 'New' Earth and the 'New' Heavens being a 'changement', in response to the change in authority, rather than a renewal. Aug 7 '21 at 23:14
  • I meant "know it', not 'no it' of course. Sometimes 'spellcheck' shows 'no' initiative, lol. Aug 7 '21 at 23:25
  • Thanks, @OldeEnglish, that's kind of you. I remember reading an early testimony of believers talking about Jesus returning "at the end of time" and did a double take, then I began to research this and saw it was a common belief from Justin Martyr to Popes, but which seems to be completely absent from modern commentaries.
    – Robert
    Aug 8 '21 at 18:24
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    You start, "This is one of many ambiguities where your theology will guide the proper translation", which (to me) is putting the cart before the horse. Surely the nearest English equivalent to the plain, undisputed, Greek word in all texts needs to be translated, after which readers may progress on to the matter of interpreting the meaning of the verse in light of related verses? But for a translator to decide that 'time' must be replaced with 'delay' is to put his theology first. So then we're reading the word of man, and not the word of God. I do agree with so much of your answer!
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 17:03
  • @Robert The real point seems to be that the word for 'delay' is 'kairos' but the angel speaking to John did not choose it. The inspired text has 'chronos'. Why would some translators decide that they have chosen a better word than did the angel? The simple absence of 'kairos' in the text should tell translators that 'chronos' has been deliberately chosen, but they appear to think that it would be better to select another word.
    – Anne
    Aug 21 '21 at 11:27
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You asked about the translation of ‘chronos’, querying the difference, which you say …. “could account for clashing interpretations”. And then emphasis “I do not want interpretations.”….

Nevertheless …. you need to understand that interpretation is ‘a’ significant factor for translators in ultimately deciding the English word to substitute in place of the original. Because the ‘meaning’ of a verse needs to be reflected in choice of words. Before I continue this in this line, we do need to consider the textual background.

ou’ (no more) modifies the noun ‘*chronos’, (time), and then ‘eti’ ‘adjusts’ or modifies ‘ou’.. ‘eti’ - ‘of a thing which went on formerly, whereas now a different state of things exists or has begun to exist’.

Clearly the angel is announcing ‘something’ is going to change. Now here is where interpretation could influence ‘word’ choice. You pointed out that the (a) noted difference is that between older/earlier translations and more modern ones. The translations of the ‘earlier’ Bibles would have a foundation established around the time of the reformation. And these heavily influenced by the scholars of around that time. Calvin, Augustine, etc. And their view of ‘end times’.

Whereas more modern translations have been influenced by several other factors, example, they can/could consider the Septuagint to re-analyse the Old Testament translations used for the ‘earlier’ Bibles. We also have access to more documentation from the second temple period. And recently the Dead Sea Scrolls have not just given us segments of the Old Testament, but (arguably) more helpful are the commentaries found in the caves.

These ‘shed’ a slightly different ‘light’ on the End Times. One crucial example here are the commentaries found on ‘Ages’ (aka ‘times’). And using these as a foundation, the use of ‘delay’ can easily be seen to be (arguably) a better choice.

I won’t go into what these might be, because you only wanted to know why the difference. And I have outlined an argument as to the reason for the differences, and a reason to/for as you say, ”account for clashing interpretations”. The reason is that the viewpoint of the 16/17the century differs to that we ‘see’ today. And the reason for the ‘clash’ is some are founded in entrenched doctrines from the period of the early Bible translations, where as others have taken onboard the newer interpretations.

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  • Dave, Excellent answer! Case in point is the word aion used in the YLT: "And did swear in Him who doth live to the ages of the ages, who did create the heaven and the things in it, and the land and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it -- that time shall not be yet," Ages or Eons have everything to do with time. There are ages yet to come when this prophecy will take place.
    – Sherrie
    Aug 8 '21 at 13:46
  • The Greek texts Catholics & Protestants worked from ALL say 'time', and all the old translations agree on that. There was no clash. Only once modern dynamic translations popped up did new words (like 'delay') pop in. People can argue till the cows come home as to right interpretation of that verse alongside other verses, but that is outside the discipline of sticking to what the Greek text actually says, surely?
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 16:46
  • @Anne As I and other outlines put forward, the Greek ‘words’ could arguably be translated either way. The (right) choice of which word depends on context. And ‘context’ (especially here) depends on interpretation. And that has changed as I outlined. You could analyse the Greek(or any language) words of many verse/sentences and yet completely miss the intent of what was intended.
    – Dave
    Aug 10 '21 at 3:56
  • 1
    @Dave The real point seems to be that the word for 'delay' is 'kairos' but the angel speaking to John did not choose it. The inspired text has 'chronos'. Why would some translators decide that they have chosen a better word than did the angel? The simple absence of 'kairos' in the text should tell translators that 'chronos' has been deliberately chosen, but they appear to think that it would be better to select another word.
    – Anne
    Aug 21 '21 at 11:25
0

In Revelation 10:6 the Greek text has, "there should be time no longer." Yet modern translations say 'delay'. Is there warrant in the Greek for this?

The Greek word here translated "delay" is Kronos/Chronos which literally means "time." Some have thus felt that this declaration of the angel should be translated: "There will be no more time," as though time as we know it will end. But the word khro'nos is used without a definite article. So it does not mean time in general but, rather, "a time" or "a period of time." In other words, there will be no further period of time (or, delay) by Jehovah. A Greek verb derived from Khro'nos is used also at Hebrews 10:37, where Paul, quoting from Habakkuk 2:3,4, writes that "he who is coming...will not delay."...This paragraph was taken from p.157 of, "Revelation Its Grand Climax At Hand!" by the 'Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society', 1988 edition.'

In addition to the above, if you were to go to 'Biblehub Commentaries', Barnes, gives us a great narrative on the meaning of this khro'nos, as it pertains to our verse in question, which is too lengthy to reiterate here but is very much worth the read.

Strong's concordance '5550', in its explanation of meaning, talks about the 'usage' being more to do with "time, a particular time, season".

9
  • 1
    The absence of the article in Greek does not warrant the addition of the so-called 'indefinite' article in English. The absence of the article in Greek means that the concept is not being located (the Greek article is derived, says Daniel B Wallace, from the demonstrative pronoun). Thus the absence of the article does not mean 'a' time is in view. It means time itself is in view - the concept : time. 'Time (itself, the concept) is no more' is clearly the meaning of the Greek original.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 7 '21 at 16:15
  • 1
    @NigelJ-I don't think the above paragraph is anymore than an 'insinuation' as to the meaning of 'Khronos'. "The absence of the article in Greek does not warrant the addition of the so-called 'indefinite' article", you say. No it doesn't. You are right. But, it can not be dismissed out of hand either. It can be implied, just as the definite article can also. Nevertheless, insinuated or not, when a predicate noun is not preceded by the definite article, it may be indefinite, depending on the context. The Journal of Biblical Literature says that "expressions' with an anarthrous [no article] ..... Aug 7 '21 at 21:13
  • 1
    'Implied' (article. No, it can't. English has five articles (zero article, 'some' , 'a', 'the' and the null article - two not on the page) 'One' - an article ? but Greek not so. Greek deals with a concept, then locates the concept. It is utterly different. And not 'implied'.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 7 '21 at 21:18
  • ...predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning, which indicates that 'Khronos' can be likened to (a) period of time.......By the way, would this be the same Daniel B Wallace that translated John 1:1c into the "Word was 'fully' God" in the NET? A word that is not a definite article, or even an indefinite article, as it's an adverb. Would this be the same guy?? Aug 7 '21 at 21:27
  • 1
    No, I did not know what you were doing. How could I ? I replied to what was on the page. We differ - and I shall leave it there. No further comment.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 7 '21 at 21:39
0

First, some interlinear translations at Rev 10:6 do have "there shall be no more delay". Of the several on my shelf - most had "delay", including this one >> https://biblehub.com/interlinear/revelation/10-6.htm

The matter in Rev 10:6 is how to translate the phrase, ὅτι χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται, and in particular, the word χρόνος (chronos). According to BDAG, this word has three basic meanings:

  1. an indefinite period of time during which some activity or event takes place, time, period, eg, matt 25:19, John 5:6, Acts 18:20, Luke 8:27, Acts 8:11, 14:3, 27:9, etc.
  2. a point of time consisting of an occasion for some event or activity, time, occasion, eg, Acts 7:17, 1 Peter 1:17, Matt 2:7, Luke 1:57, etc.
  3. a period during which something is delayed, respite, delay, eg, Rev 2:21, 10:6.

For more details, see BDAG. Almost all modern versions agree with BDAG, including the NKJV.

Even if "chronos" is interpreted as "time" and the last phrase of Rev 10:6 is translated "time no longer", it would still imply "delay", largely on the basis of what the text is alluding to in Dan 12.

Rev 10:5-7 is a definite echo of Dan 12:7 whose context is the following:

  • V4 - discussing the "time of the end"
  • V6 - the question is asked "how long ..."
  • V7 - contains a time prophecy of the time, times and half a time = 1260 days
  • V9 - words are sealed until the time of the end
  • V11 - contains another time prophecy of 1290 days
  • V12 - contains another prophecy of 1335 days
  • V13 - "You will rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days"

Thus, the OT reference and allusion of Rev 10:6 is completely absorbed with time prophecies about expiring time. The "little book" that had been unsealed that John eats appears to be (See >> Is the scroll/book revealed in Revelation 5:8-9 the same scroll/book that was sealed in Daniel 12:4, 9? ) the book of Daniel that was sealed. Thus, there are numerous references to Daniel.

This appears to be confirmed by Rev 10:7 where the angel says that the mystery of God is about to be fulfilled.

13
  • With regard to Interlinear texts for this verse, there is no argument or even question as to what the Greek word is; older and newer texts all have the Greek word for 'time'. None of them have the Greek word for 'delay'. It is only when we go across to the English translation that we find newer ones have decided that here, 'time' actually should read 'delay'. But the Greek word for 'delay' is in no text! Why would anybody use a different word to what is clearly written in Greek, unless they saw a chance to make an interpretation and couldn't resist it?
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 16:05
  • @Anne - ass pointed out above, "chronos" means delay/respite in some circumstances as clearly documented by the extensive non-biblical references in BDAG. See BDAG for far more information.
    – Dottard
    Aug 9 '21 at 20:47
  • The real point seems to be that the word for 'delay' is 'kairos' but the angel speaking to John did not choose it. The inspired text has 'chronos'. Why would some translators decide that they have chosen a better word than did the angel? The simple absence of 'kairos' in the text should tell translators that 'chronos' has been deliberately chosen, but they appear to think that it would be better to select another word.
    – Anne
    Aug 21 '21 at 11:26
  • @Anne - ... according to which lexicon? Please quote an authoritative source.
    – Dottard
    Aug 21 '21 at 21:10
  • 1
    @Anne - thanks for this useful looking book. I have also written a similar book with the same name - but that is another matter. I am sure I will learn much from John Metcalfe. I have also read several other books with the same title and ambition.
    – Dottard
    Sep 1 '21 at 9:18
-1

The meaning is the same. The new translations render it "there will be no longer delay" for a better clarity than "there will be no longer time/duration/waiting (left for this)". The phrase is "no longer time" chronos ouketi. The sentence means- it will soon happen. It can also be said, "there is no time left". It doesn't mean time will cease, which is very different. Lexicon Liddell Scott Jones on χρόνος:

  1. Special phrases: acc., χρόνον for a while, for a long or short time, Od. 4.599 , 6.295 , Hdt. 1.175 , 7.223 , etc.; πολὺν χρόνον for a long time, Od. 11.161 ; δηρὸν χ. Il. 14.206 ; οὐκ ὀλίγον χ. 19.157 ; τοῦτον τὸν χ. Hdt. 1.75 ; ἐς τὸν αἰὲν χ. for ever, E. Or. 207 (lyr.); οὐ πολὺς χ. ἐξ οὗ . . Pl.R. 452c ; παλαιὸς ἀφ' οὗ χρόνος S. Aj. 600 (lyr.); ἦν χρόνος ἐν ᾧ . . , or ὅτε . . , Linusap. D.L. Prooem. 4, Critias 25.1 D. ; ἕνα χ. once for all, Il. 15.511 . gen., χρόνου περιιόντος as time came round, Hdt. 4.155 ; so χ. ἐπιγενομένου, διεξελθόντος, προβαίνοντος, Id. 1.28 , 2.52 , 3.53 ; χρόνου γενομένου after a time, D.S. 20.109 ; ὀλίγου χρόνου in a short time, Hdt. 3.134 ; πολλοῦ . . οὐχ ἑόρακά πω χρόνου Ar. Pl. 98 ; οὐ μακροῦ χ., τοῦ λοιποῦ χ., S. El. 478 (lyr.), 817 ; βαιοῦ κοὐχὶ μυρίου χ. Id. OC 397 ; ποίου χρόνου; A. Ag. 278 ; πόσου χ.; after how long? Ar. Ach. 83 . dat., χρόνῳ in process of time, Xenoph. 18 , Hdt. 1.80 , 176 , al.: freq. in Trag., as A. Ag. 126 , 463 , Ch. 650 (all lyr.); also χρόνῳ κοτέ Hdt. 9.62 ; τῷ χ. ποτέ Ar. Nu. 865 ; χρόνῳ, χρόνοις ὕστερον, long after, Th. 1.8 , Lys. 3.39 ; οὐ χρόνῳ immediately, Ps.Democr.Alch.p.49B.: also c. Art., τῷ χ. Ar. Nu. 66 , 1242 . ὁ ἄλλος χ., in Att. , of past time, D. 20.16 , ὁ λοιπὸς χ., of future, v. λοιπός 3; so χ. ἐφέρπων, ἐπαντέλλων, μέλλων, Pi. O. 6.97 , 8.28 , 10(11).7 ; also κατὰ χ. ἱκνούμενον or κατὰ χ. [τὸν] ἱ. at a later (or the fitting) time, Ant.Lib. 27.4 (cf. ἱκνέομαι 111.2 ).
  2. with Preps.: — ἀνὰ χρόνον in course of time, after a time, Hdt. 1.173 , 2.151 , 5.27 , al. ἀφ' οὗ χρόνου from such time as . . , X. Cyr. 1.2.13 . διὰ χρόνου after a time, after an interval, S. Ph. 758 , Ar. Lys. 904 , Pl. 1055 , Th. 2.94 ; διὰ χρόνου πολλοῦ Hdt. 3.27 ; διὰ π. χ. Ar. V. 1476 ; διὰ μακρῶν χρόνων Pl. Ti. 22d : but χρόνος . . διὰ χρόνου προὔβαινέ μοι means one space of time after another, day after day, S. Ph. 285 . ἐκ πολλοῦ τευ χ. a long time since, long ago, Hdt. 2.58 . ἐν χρόνῳ, like χρόνῳ , in course of time, at length, A. Eu. 1000 (lyr.); for a long time, Pl. Phdr. 278d ; ἐν πολλῷ χρόνῳ ib. 228a ; ἐν χρόνοισι perh. formerly, [ Emp. ] Sphaer. 108 (leg. Κάρπιμος ). ἐντὸς χρόνου within a certain time, Hdt. 8.104 . ἐπὶ χρόνον for a time, for a while, Il. 2.299 , Od. 14.193 , Hdt. 1.116 ; πολλὸν ἐπὶ χ. Od. 12.407 ; χρόνον ἐπὶ μακρόν Hdt. 1.81 ; παυρίδιον or παῦρον ἐπὶ χ., Hes. Op. 133 , 326 . ἐς χρόνον hereafter, Hdt. 3.72 , 9.89 . i μετὰ χρόνον after a time, Id. 2.52 , etc.; μέχρι τοῦ αὐτοῦ χ. up to the same time, Th. 1.13 . πρὸ τοῦ καθήκοντος χ. Aeschin. 3.126 ; so τοῦ χρόνου πρόσθεν S. Ant. 461 . σὺν (ξὺν) χρόνῳ, like χρόνῳ or διὰ χρόνου, A. Ag. 1378 , Eu. 555 (lyr.). ὑπὸ χρόνου by lapse of time, Th. 1.21 : but ὑπὸ αὐτὸν τὸν χ. about the same time, Hdt. 7.165 , cf. Th. 1.100 (pl.). II lifetime, age, ὁ μακρὸς ἀνθρώπων χρόνος S. Ph. 306 ; χρόνῳ παλαιοί Id. OC 112 ; χρόνῳ μείων ib. 374 ; τοσόσδε τῷ χ. so far gone in years, Pl. Ax. 365b ; χρόνῳ βραδύς S. OC 875 . III season or portion of the year, περιγράψαι τοῦ ἔτους χρόνον X. Mem. 1.4.12 . delay, οὐδ' ἐποίησαν (fort. ἐνεποίησαν ) χ. οὐδένα D. 19.163 ; χρόνον δ' αἱ νύκτες ἔχοντι linger, Theoc. 21.25 ; χρόνους ἐμποιεῖν to interpose delays, D. 23.93 . Gramm., 1 tense of a verb, D.H. Th. 24 , A.D. Adv. 123.17 , D.T. 638.3 .
5
  • I did say, "could account for clashing interpretations," though if it turns out that there is no clash - fine. It's not the different interpretations I'm questioning - just why, when every Greek text available states 'time,' some think they have license to introduce the English word 'delay'. There is a Greek word for 'delay'. It's not the same as for 'time', is it? A literal translation would state 'time', irrespective of how anybody thereafter interprets it, but to say 'delay' is an interpretation, surely?
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 16:19
  • @Anne, if you prefer those literal versions, but sometimes they lack clarity in their crude rendering. You need to look at the phrase "no longer time(taken for this)" which only means there will be no delay. I also like the literal translations but they should be clear in reading as well.
    – Michael16
    Aug 9 '21 at 16:23
  • Yes, that’s the real issue here: whether one wants a Bible that effectively tells the reader what the meaning is (in the view of the translator), or states what the Greek text states even if that challenges the reader. I do appreciate your answer, thanks
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 16:33
  • 2 cowardly insecure twins downvoted my answer without any justification. Vote bomb as usual by the twins.
    – Michael16
    Sep 1 '21 at 15:52
  • 1
    I'm actually a twin myself, but neither of us downvoted you, Michael!
    – Anne
    Sep 1 '21 at 17:09
-1

You ask "why", and you invite opinions. That will be difficult, if impossible to answer. You ask "when" and that will also be difficult, if impossible to answer because human records and archives are incomplete, or at times have been deliberately purged or altered. Those two questions may be the wrong way to look at this particular matter because most of those translations on this verse are wrong, and the reason they are wrong is that the translators were influenced by their own beliefs.

As in several other instances the English translations are faulty because an opinion guided the translator who read into the text (eisegesis) what he/they thought or believed or wanted it to mean. That is the reason I have stated at other times and places that the English translations have to be bounced against each other to determine the best meaning.

We are not allowed to believe whatever we want to believe. We are commanded to believe in God (Matt. 22:37 from Deu. 6:5; John 14:1) as His word is truth (Psa. 25:5, 10; 31:5; 86:11. etc). We are not allowed to interpret His word, as only God interprets (Gen. 40:8; 41:16; Dan. 2:20-28, 2 Pet. 1:20). That means that only God's word can interpret, or reveal His meaning. One of the rules of hermeneutics is that God's scriptures interpret God's scriptures.

Another point to clarify is that there is nothing NEW in the New Testament. It has been repeated time after time that the OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed. ALL of the NT is from the OT prophesies, even all of Revelation.

Remember what the Bereans were doing? They were checking Paul against the scriptures (Acts 17:11). Which scriptures did they have as their test? The Hebrew TNK, what we call the OT. So, Paul, a man filled with the Holy Spirit since his conversion, was being vetted against the OT scriptures to see if he was speaking the truth.

You may have heard some people say or preach that as we are now under the gospel of Christ, under the new covenant of His everlasting kingdom, then we do not need the OT any longer. This is an absolutely false statement. The OT was our teacher to bring us to a knowledge of God and of His plan of salvation through His son, Yeshua (Jesus). If we do not know the OT, if we do not know the idioms, metaphors, terminology, and Hebraic phrases used throughout the OT we cannot see them and recognize them when they are repeated in the NT.

The books are all united, and work all together. No verse can be lifted away from the context of the surrounding scriptures, no more than any book of the NT can be lifted away from the entirety of God's word. So, taking one word out to look at it as a singular meaning to stand on its own is not proper. Context matters.

All of Rev. chap. 10 was looking back at Dan. 12. The Gr. word "chronos" is correctly translated as "time" in Young's Literal Translation, but the rest of the verse shows something different.

"1 And I saw another strong messenger coming down out of the heaven, arrayed with a cloud, and a rainbow upon the head, and his face as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire,

2 and he had in his hand a little scroll opened, and he did place his right foot upon the sea, and the left upon the land, ....

5 And the messenger whom I saw standing upon the sea, and upon the land, did lift up his hand to the heaven,

"and did swear in Him who doth live to the ages of the ages, who did create the heaven and the things in it, and the land and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it -- that time shall not be yet," (Rev. 10:1-2, 5-6, YLT)

From Dan. 12:7-9,

"7 And I hear the one clothed in linen, who [is] upon the waters of the flood, and he doth lift up his right hand and his left unto the heavens, and sweareth by Him who is living to the age, that, `After a time, times, and a half, and at the completion of the scattering of the power of the holy people, finished are all these.'

8 And I have heard, and I do not understand, and I say, `O my lord, what [is] the latter end of these?'

9 And he saith, `Go, Daniel; for hidden and sealed [are] the things till the time of the end;" (YLT)

First, Rev. 10:1 identified the "strong messenger" or angel who was standing upon the sea and upon the land as Christ. It is the same language as Rev. 1:13-15, and as Ezek. 1:26-27. The symbolic imagery of standing upon the sea and the land meant He had dominion over both the gentile nations (the sea) and the land of Israel, the promised land, also called the "earth."

And, the text at Rev. 10:6 says in the past tense "did swear". He swore the time was not yet. When did He say that? He said it originally to Daniel, in Dan. 12:7-9 that the scroll or book would be sealed until the time of the end.

So, vs. 6 was recalling the original statement to Daniel. It was not a new statement given to John. He was not swearing it again in Revelation. It was a flash back for John's benefit to remember when the scroll of the prophesy was originally sealed. It was not yet time to unseal the book in Daniel's day, but it was time to unseal it in the 1st century AD when the vision was given to John as the Lamb slain ascended to the Father and was given the scroll to open in Rev. 5:6-7.

The translations that say "delay" are in error. The translations that say " that time should be no longer" or "time is no more" are also in error.

2
  • I'm glad you mentioned Young's Literal Translation, for it may be the most accurate: "...that time shall not be yet". It does not attempt to interpret 'chronos', you see. There is no dispute in any Greek text about the word for 'time' being used, so that even if there is scope to think of 'delay' in that context, 'time' must be the chosen word of translators. To substitute it with 'delay' is to place the translator's interpretation upon the verse. But what if that interpretation is wrong? That is why the task of translators is so serious; they must stick to the text, no matter what.
    – Anne
    Aug 9 '21 at 17:12
  • 1
    @Anne - I use the YLT extensively, and find it offers clarity where the KJV falls short.
    – Gina
    Aug 9 '21 at 18:52

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