John 1:51 ...Hereafter ye shall see heaven open,

Spoken to: 

group

Context: 

After Jesus tells Nathaniel that he will see greater things

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Truly, truly, I am telling you, you will watch for yourselves: the sky will be opened and the messengers of the Divine, ascending and descending by means of the child of the man.

My Takeaway: 

Jesus unlocked our ability to learn the laws of nature, making the universe comprehensible.

KJV : 

John 1:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man

NIV : 

John 1:51 Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

When Jesus actually uses the future tense, which is less common in Greek than in translation, it looks like a prediction of the future. The verbs here "see" and "open" are both in the future tense. The "see" is in the middle voice, "see for yourselves" and the "open" in passive, "will be opened."

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀμὴν [88 verses](adv) "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly," "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT

Ἀμὴν [88 verses](adv) "Verily" is from amen, which is from the Hebrew, meaning "truly," "of a truth," and "so be it." It has no history in Greek before the NT

λέγω [264 verses](1st sg pres ind act) "I tell" is from llego means "pick up," "choose for oneself," "pick out," and "count," "recount," "tell over," "say," "speak," "teach," "mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," "nominate," and "command."

ὑμῖν, (pron sg 2nd dat) "You" is from humas and humon, which is a plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

ὄψεσθε [20 verses](verb 2nd pl fut ind mid) "You shall see" is from horao, which means "to see with the eyes," "to look," "to observe," "see," "aim," "have sight," "behold," "keep in sight," and as a metaphor of mental sight, "discern," and "perceive."

τὸν (article  sg masc acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

οὐρανὸν [111 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Heaven" is the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky," "heaven as the seat of the gods," "the sky," "the universe," and "the climate."

ἀνεῳγότα [10 verses](3rd sg fut ind pass) "Open" is anoigo, which means "to open," "to throw open," and "to disclose."

καὶ (conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but."

τοὺς (article pl masc/fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἀγγέλους [29 verses](noun pl masc/fem acc) "Angels" is from aggelos, (aggelos) which means "messenger" and "envoy." "Angels" is aggelos, which means "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use.

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

θεοῦ  (noun sg masc gen) "Of God""God" is theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity.

ἀναβαίνοντας [14 verses](part pl pres act masc acc) "Ascending" is anabainô, which means "to go up," "to mount," and "to turn up." It is the word used for mounting a horse, going aboard a ship, or ascending to heaven. For plants, it is used specifically to describe when plants grow on sticks or other plants, entwining them, or "mounting" them.  -

καὶ conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but."

καταβαίνοντας” [25 verses](part pl pres act masc acc ) "Descending" is katabaino, which means "go down," "come down from," and "dismount from." Metaphorically, it means "attain," "conform to," "condescend," "fall in value," and "arrive at the end [of a speech]."

ἐπὶ (prep) "On" is from epi which means, with the objective noun accusative, it means of place: "upon or on to a height," "up to," "as far as," "a little way," "a little," "towards," "to," in hostile sense: "against," of extension: "over," "over (a space)," of time: "for," "during," "up to" or "till," in a causal sense: "of (the object)," for (this purpose)," "as regards," "according to," and "by (this cause)."

τὸν (article sg masc gen)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

υἱὸν -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "children." It can refer to all offspring in later generations, just like "father" refers to all previous generations. Jesus also used it metaphorically to describe those who follow a way of thought or set of beliefs that descend from an individual. More about it in this article.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

τοῦ (article sg masc gen)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ἀνθρώπου. [209 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Of man" is anthropos, which is "man," and, in plural, "mankind." It also means "humanity" and that which is human and opposed to that which is animal or inanimate. -

KJV Analysis: 

Verily, -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

Verily -- The word translated as "verily" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like a Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

say -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English, but the translator must decide which preposition to use: a "to" as an indirect object.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

Hereafter -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "hereafter" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

ye -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see-- (CW) "See" is from a Greek verb, which means "to see with the eyes," "to look," and "to observe." It is a metaphor for mental seeing, that is, perceiving. However, it is one of the many words that Christ uses to mean "see," but it is not one of the most common ones. Jesus seems to use this word often to mean "watch out" or "look out" as a warning. It is plural, future, and in the middle voice. 

missing "by/for yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourself," "for yourselves" or "by yourselves."

Missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven -- The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.

open, -- (WT, WV) The verb for "open" means "to disclose" or "to lay open." It means revealing something that is there, but that you cannot access. This verb is in the future tense and passive voice, "be opened."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

the (article sg neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

angels -- (UW)  "Angels" is a noun meaning "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use from its use in the NT. The word is not translated but adopted into English with a different meaning.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

Missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

ascending - "Ascending" means "to go up," "to mount," and "to turn up." It has a lot of specific meanings including "ascending to higher knowledge." "Sprung up" is used specifically to describe when plants grow on sticks or other plants, entwining them, or "mounting" them.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

descending  - -- The verb translated as "descending" means "go down" as we say in English that rain "comes down" not "goes down." 

upon -- The word translated as "upon" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples." 

KJV Translation Issues: 

9
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "hereafter" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not the common word usually translated as "see."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "open" should be the future tense, "will be opened" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the passive voice, "be opened."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "angels" means "messengers." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

Very, -- (CW) The word translated as "very" is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

Truly -- The word translated as "truly " is from the Hebrew word that means "truly" or "certainly," but it sounds like the Greek word with the same meaning. In Greek, the word also means "to reap." See this article discussing this "amen phrase."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the following verb.

tell -- The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently. It also has many ancillary meanings such as "to count" ("to number" or like we might say, "to recount" a story) or "to choose for yourself." Christ usually uses this word to refer to his own speaking or teaching.

you,  -- The Greek pronoun "you" here is plural and in the form of an indirect object, "to you," "for you," etc.

you -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will " indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

see-- (CW) "See" is from a Greek verb, which means "to see with the eyes," "to look," and "to observe." It is a metaphor for mental seeing, that is, perceiving. However, it is one of the many words that Christ uses to mean "see," but it is not one of the most common ones. Jesus seems to use this word often to mean "watch out" or "look out" as a warning. It is plural, future, and in the middle voice. 

missing "by/for yourselves"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to  act on "yourself," "for yourselves" or "by yourselves."

Missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven -- The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. More about the word in this article.

open, -- (WT, WV) The verb for "open" means "to disclose" or "to lay open." It means revealing something that is there, but that you cannot access. This verb is in the future tense and passive voice, "be opened."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

the (article sg neut dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

angels -- (UW)  "Angels" is a noun meaning "messenger" and "envoys" though it became to mean "semi-divine beings" in later use from its use in the NT. The word is not translated but adopted into English with a different meaning.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

Missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

ascending - "Ascending" means "to go up," "to mount," and "to turn up." It has a lot of specific meanings including "ascending to higher knowledge." "Sprung up" is used specifically to describe when plants grow on sticks or other plants, entwining them, or "mounting" them.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

descending  - -- The verb translated as "descending" means "go down" as we say in English that rain "comes down" not "goes down."

on -- The word translated as "on" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Son -- The word translated as "son" more generally means "child" or "descendant." The phrase "the son of man" is the common way Christ refers to himself. It is discussed in detail in this article. Its sense may be "the child of the man."

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that required the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession, but it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Man - The Greek word for "man" means "man," "person" and "humanity" in the singular. In the plural, it means "men," "people," and "peoples."

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "see" is not the common word usually translated as "see."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the middle voice requiring the concept of "yourselves" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "open" should be the future tense, "will be opened" indicates the future tense, but that is not the tense here.
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is in the passive voice, "be opened."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "angels" means "messengers." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "man" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Mar 15 2021