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Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied
KJV Verse:

Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Greek Verse:

πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ νόμος
ἕως Ἰωάνου ἐπροφήτευσαν:

Literal Alternative:

This is because the oracles and the traditions until John interpreted for God.

Hidden Meaning:

This verse is a good example of how the meaning of words has been changed over time, both by the Bible itself and other forces. Today, there is a difference in how we read the word "prophesied" and how the people of Christ's time understood it. There is also a difference in how we understand what is translated as "the law". Christ is clearly saying that John marked a transition point in history.

The word translated as "all " is a word meaning "all", "the whole", "every," and similar ideas. 

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "This is because..." to start a new sentence.

"Prophets" is a word that means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter," and "herald." However, it is a verb that means "to shine forth" so it works more like our phrase "shining lights". Notice, it does not mean someone who predicts the future, which has become its sense in English. 

"The law" is from a Greek noun means "that which is in habitual practice" and is uses to mean "custom", "usage", "law," and "ordinance." "Law" was not a narrow term regarding civil or even religious laws. It encompassed all of the traditions, which were assumed to have practical value in coping with natural laws. 

The word translated as "until" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

The word translated as "prophesied" doesn't actually means to make prophesies, but "to be a prophet," that is, to be a "shining light".   This has a broader meaning in the original Greek than in English. In English, it is limited to foreseeing the future, but in Greek it means "being an interpreter for the gods," and, surprisingly, "being a quack doctor." The idea had very little to do with predicting the future. That meaning only arose because of the connection with the prophets and the birth of Christ. 




πάντες (adj pl masc nom) "All" is from pas, which means "all", "the whole", "every", "anyone", "all kinds," and "anything." In the adverbial form, it means "every way", "on every side", "in every way," and "altogether."

γὰρ (partic) "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question, it means "why" and "what."

οἱ προφῆται (noun pl masc nom) "The prophets" is from prophetes, which means "one who speaks for a god and interprets his will", "interpreter", "keepers of the oracle", "the highest level of priesthood in Egypt", "interpreter," and "herald."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

νόμος (noun sg masc nom) "Law" is from nomos, which means "anything assigned", "a usage", "custom", "law", "ordinance," or "that which is a habitual practice." It is the basis of the English words "norm" and "normal."

ἕως (conj) "Until" is from heos which means "until", "till," and "in order that" and "up to the point that." -- The word translated as "until" means "until" but it also means "in order that."

Ἰωάνου (noun sg masc gen) "John" is from Ioannes, which is the Greek form of the name "John."

ἐπροφήτευσαν: (3rd pl aor ind act) "Prophesied" is propheteuo, which means "to be an interpreter of the gods", "to be an intermediary in asking", "to be one with oracular power", "to hold the office of prophet", "to be a quack doctor," and "to have a spiritual impulse to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others."

Related Verses:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now

Christ's Words Articles

Recent Spoken Version

This list shows the "spoken version" of each verse of Christ's words in Matthew. It adds interactions with audiences, pauses, and other interactions you would see in a spoken presentation. The word order follows the order of the original Greek much more closely than other English so that the humor works correctly, especially the punch lines. This work is being done as part of a new version capturing the Gospel of Matthew from a different perspective.

Mat 23:33

"Snakes?" he suggested.

He held out one hand, indicating his accusers.

"The product of vipers?" he asked, holding out the other hand and balancing it against the first as if testing to see which fit best.

The crowd giggled. Christ looked at them and shrugged.

Then he looked again to his accusers, and put his hands on his hips, and asked sincerely, "How in the world can you possibly avoid your preference for the burning trash heap?"

The crowd laughed.

Mat 5:30

But another joker, a tall tradesman, called out, “My problem isn’t my eye! It’s my right hand!” He raised his fist and pumped it up and down suggestively.
Many laughed. Many groaned. Others booed.
“And so,” the speaker responded, smiling but sounding concerned. “If that right of yours—,” he said, holding up his own hand. “Hand and forearm.” He clarified, moving his forearm up and then down, but instead of duplicating the man’s gesture, his hand seemed to fly out of control hitting his leg. “Trips you up,” he squawked, again stumbling, and, this time, almost falling.
Again, everyone laughed.
“Lop it off!” His left hand chopped at his right forearm. Again, he grimaced comically. “And toss it away!” He repeated his tossing-out-the-trash motion one-handed.
This drew more chuckles.
“Because,” he explained, “it helps you when it destroys itself—.”
The audience began to snicker anticipating what was coming next.
“One of your—.” He paused, moving his hand very slowly down. “Members,” he squeaked.
Everyone cracked up, even the children who didn’t understand it all.
The speaker shrugged nonchalantly and continued cheerfully, “And you don’t want that whole body of yours—.” He paused, then called out, “Into the Gehenna!” Again, he made the throwing-out-the-trash gesture as he said, “It is tossed!”

Mat 7:13

“But do we have to follow the crowd?” A young man asked.
The speaker shook his head, no. 
“Go,” the teacher advised. “All of you, in through the narrow opening,” He opened a narrow gap between his hands and tried to squeeze his body through it sideways. 
The audience chuckled at his struggles. 
“Because wide and spacious,” he explained, spreading his arms wide. “The path, the one leading—.” He made his tossing-out-the-trash motion. “Into that  destruction!” He held his nose and wave away the imaginary fumes of the trash heap. 
The crowd laughed. 

Mat 10:5

“Our route follows one of the Roman roads,” asked young Simon the Militant. “It gets kind of busy, can we leave it and walk cross country? And we go by a town of the Watchers, should stop there?”
“Seems kind of dangerous,” Simon observed. “What do you think, Master? Should they leave it?”
“From a road of the foreigners?” The teacher responded. He was holding a baby at the time. “You all might not want to leave it. And, into the city of a Watchers? You may not want to enter it.

Mat 10:28

“And I’m less worried about secrets than I am bodily damage,” said Jim.
“And you don’t want to be terrified by those destroying the body,” the teacher said. “They don’t, however, feel they have the power themselves to destroy the self. Fear for yourselves, however, instead the one having the power for himself—.” He pointed at Jim’s heart. “Not only a self but a body, he can destroy in a Gehenna!” He made his throwing out the trash motion.