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In Revelation 3:21, we read the following (NKJV, emphasis added):

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

In the translations I've read, this is spoken of in the past tense. Of course, I see that the Greek uses the aorist tense. Since I'm not as knowledgable about this non-English tense, I'm wondering: Would the aorist tense prove Jesus' enthronement has already happened, as would our English past tense?

Note: My question is not about other passages but whether this verse specifically is sufficient to determine when Jesus was seated on the throne, given this verse's use of the aorist tense. To the extent that our English translations place Jesus' seating in the past through use of the past tense, would the original Greek's aorist tense likewise place Jesus' enthronement in the past here?

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    In the indicative, the aorist usually indicates past time with reference to the time of speaking (thus, “absolute time”). Daniel B Wallace. . . . . . ἐκάθισα is the aorist indicative active. Yes, it is a past event.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 13, 2022 at 14:00
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    @NigelJ Feel free to make an answer of it!
    – The Editor
    Jul 13, 2022 at 14:21

3 Answers 3

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In the indicative, the aorist usually indicates past time with reference to the time of speaking (thus, “absolute time”) ...

Daniel B Wallace, quoted on SE-BH

ἐκάθισα ('sat down' Revelation 3:21) is the aorist indicative active - 1st person singular

Yes, it is a past event.

did endure a cross, shame having despised, on the right hand also of the throne of God did sit down; [Hebrews 12:2 YLT]

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. [Mark 16:19 KJV]

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It is true that Rev 3:21 speaks of Christ's enthronement as a past, completed event because the verb ἐκάθισα (ekathisa) is aorist indicative active, ie, in the past tense and so should be translated, "sat down".

This is a very common teaching in the NT, for example:

  • Mark 16:19 - Therefore indeed the Lord Jesus, after speaking to them, was taken up into the heaven and sat at the right hand of God.
  • Acts 2:33 - Therefore having been exalted at the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you are both seeing and hearing.
  • Rom 8:34 - Who is the one condemning? For it is Christ Jesus, the one having died, now rather having been raised up, who is also at the right hand of God, and who is interceding for us.
  • Eph 1:20 - that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
  • Col 3:1 - If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
  • Heb 1:3 - who, being the radiance of His glory and the exact expression of His substance, and upholding all things by the power of His word, through having made the purification of sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
  • Heb 8:1 - Now the point of the things being spoken of is that we have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
  • Heb 10:12 - But this One, having offered one sacrifice for sins in perpetuity, sat down at the right hand of God
  • Heb 12:2 - looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who in view of the joy lying before Him endured the cross, having despised its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • 1 Peter 3:22 - who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers having been subjected to Him.

Indeed, Jesus predicted that following his resurrection He would be seated on the right hand of God in heaven, Matt 26:64, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69.

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Jesus' enthronement is past tense and can simply be understood to be so with just two important sentences from the mouth of YHWH.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Was this day in the past or the future? The Son, himself tells us more than once that he has been begotten.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

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