Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Pharisees attach, casting out demons

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

If, however, in a spirit of God, I myself toss out these demons, straightway, it  reaches as far as you, the realm of the divine.

KJV : 

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The most misleading thing about this verse is the verb is the word translated as "come." This word is not related to the common Greek word translated as "come" throughout the Gospels. This verb is used by Jesus only twice, here and in the parallel  verse in Luke 11:20.   However, this verb is use frequently in the Greek OT, the Septuagint, but it is used to translated a variety of Hebrew words in a variety of ways. However, it used the most in Daniel 7:13, which is clearly a prophesy of the Messiah. The Hebrew word it translates is מְטָא (meta) which means "to reach," "to attain" and "to come upon."

Though Greek puts the most important words first in the sentence, this verse puts the key idea, the realm of the Divine, last, as in a punch line. Its sense cannot be "the Spirit" as the KJV has it because the word form is all wrong for that meaning. There is not definite article, "the" before spirit. The sense is "a" spirit. This is typical of translations seeking to support a certain teaching that is not here in the original.

NIV : 

Matthew 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "unto" is usually translated as "against" in the Gospels. It is a vague threat to those challenging those who challenge him. 

My Takeaway: 

The realm of the Divine can take us by surprise.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

εἰ (partic) "If" is from ei, which is the particle used to express conditions "if" (implying nothing about its fulfillment) or indirect questions, "whether." It also means "if ever", "in case," and "whenever." It is combined with various conjunctions to create derivative conditions.

δὲ (partic) "But" is from de, which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

ἐν (prep) The word translated as "by" is en primarily means "in", "with," and "into." It means "by" in the sense of "near."

πνεύματι (noun sg neut dat) "Spirit" is pneuma,  which means "blast", "wind", "breath", "the breath of life", "divine inspiration", "a spiritual or immaterial being," and "the spirit" of a man.

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

ἐγὼ (pron 1st sg nom) "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I". It also means "I at least", "for my part", "indeed," and for myself. 

ἐκβάλλω (1st sg pres ind act) "Cast out" is from ekballo and means "throw out", "cast out of a place", "throw ashore", "drive out of", "banish", "expel", "publish", "strike out of", "let fall", "drop", "throw away", "cast aside", "reject," "expose," "go out", "depart", "divorce (a spouse)", "depose (a king)", "fell (trees)", "throw decisively (in wrestling)", "dig wells", "get rid of," in the passive, "to be ejected." Ek means "out of", "from," and "away from." Ballo is "to throw" or "to scatter."

τὰ (article pl neut nom/acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

δαιμόνια, (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Devils" is from daimonion, which means "divinity", "divine power", "a lower divine being," and "evil spirit."

ἄρα  [ 5 verses ](partic) "Then" is from ara, which means "there and then", "straightway", "then", "next", "mark you!", "for this cause", "so true is it that," and "namely."

ἔφθασεν [2 verses](3rd sg aor ind act) "Come" is from phthanô, which means to "come or do first", "to act before others", "to be beforehand", "overtake", "outstrip", "arrive first", "make haste." Taking into account the Hebrew word this Greek word is used to translation in the Septuagint in Daniel, which means "to reach" and "to attain." The sense might best be "overtake."

ἐφ (prep) "To" is from epi, (epi) which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against." With the accusative object, 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)."

ὑμᾶς (pron 2nd pl acc) "You" is from humas  the plural form of su the pronoun of the second person, "you."

(article sg fem nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βασιλεία (noun sg fem nom) "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."It means that which is ruled by a specific person, a basileus, which means "leader", "prince", "commander," or "king." Basileia is not a synonym for a state, a country, or any social group of people. A basileia is defined by its control or ownership by the master and refers both to people and property under that control.

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

θεοῦ.(noun sg masc gen) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity."

KJV Analysis: 

But - . -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way.

if -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

I  - (MW) The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." In English, we do something similar saying "I myself". 

cast - "Cast " is a Greek verb that means "throw out." Depending on the context, it can mean "toss out", "turn out," or "take out." It is usually translated as "cast out" in the NT.

out  -- This is from the prefix that means "out of" or "from"of the previous verb.

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. 

devils,  - "Devils" is a Greek word that means "divinity", "divine power", "a lower divine being," and "evil spirit. "Evil spirit" is a New Testament usage or interpretation. More about Biblical use in this article.) Today, we would use a psychological term for these disorders, like "delusions", or, "personal demons".

by   - The word translated as "by" primarily means "in", "with," and "into." It means "by" in the sense of "near." It means "in" in the sense of "in the name of" or "by the power of". 

the -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "the" in the Greek source.

Spirit  - The Greek word for "spirit" also means "breath" or "wind." Christ uses it to describe the invisible force that animates living creatures. God is the primary, invisible animating force. However, this is not "the Spirit". The Greek article ("the") is not used. The sense is "a spirit". 

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.

God,  - The word translated as "God' means "God" and "deity".  Christ usually uses this word with an article "the God" to refer to the Father, but here he doesn't use the article so "a god" or "a deity." 

then --  (CW) The word translated as "then" is a particle marking a sudden change or explaining or drawing attention to a consequence of an action. It is used in questions that expect a negative answer. With the objective negative, it expects a positive answer. It is not one of the words commonly translated as "then" or "therefore."

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") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom  - "Kingdom" is a Greek word that means "kingdom", "dominion", "royal power," and "reign." It is the same word used in the phrase "kingdom of heaven." It means that which is ruled by a specific person. It is not a synonym for a state, a country, or any social group of people. It is defined by its control or ownership by a master and refers both to people, organizations, and property under that control (see this article on the use of the "kingdom of heaven").

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.

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. 

God - - The word translated as "God' means "God" and "deity".  Christ usually uses this word with an article "the God" to refer to the Father, but here he doesn't use the article so "a god" or "a deity." The phrase, "the kingdom of God" appears at the very end of the verse, not in the middle. It is the punch-line. 

is -  This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb, but the sense means "at a point in time" either in the past, present, or future.

come " - (CW) ""Come" is a Greek verb that actually means "to come or do first". It has the sense of overtaking someone or beating them in a race. This is the only time Jesus uses this word. This is no the common Greek word translated as "come" in the NT. In English, we would say "overtook you" or, since a preposition is used, "caught up to you". 

unto  - -- The word translated as "unto" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" or "on." With the accusative object, as we see here, 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)."

you. - -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "devils" is not shown in the English translation.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "spirit" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before the second "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "then" is not the common word usually translated as "then."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "come" is not the common word usually translated as "come."

NIV Analysis: 

But - . -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". It joins phrases in an adversarial way.

if -- The "if" here expresses a condition but it means nothing regarding whether that condition is met or not. It also means "if ever" and "whenever."

it is -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "it is" in the Greek source.

by   - The word translated as "by" primarily means "in", "with," and "into." It means "by" in the sense of "near." It means "in" in the sense of "in the name of" or "by the power of". 

the -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "the" in the Greek source.

Spirit  - The Greek word for "spirit" also means "breath" or "wind." Christ uses it to describe the invisible force that animates living creatures. God is the primary, invisible animating force. However, this is not "the Spirit". The Greek article ("the") is not used. The sense is "a spirit". 

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.

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. 

God,  - The word translated as "God' means "God" and "deity".  Christ usually uses this word with an article "the God" to refer to the Father, but here he doesn't use the article so "a god" or "a deity." 

that -- (IW) There is nothing that can be translated as "that" in the Greek source.

I  - (MW) The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." In English, we do something similar saying "I myself". 

drive - "Drive " is a Greek verb that means "throw out." Depending on the context, it can mean "toss out", "turn out," or "take out." It is usually translated as "cast out" in the NT.

out  -- This is from the prefix that means "out of" or "from"of the previous verb.

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. 

demons,  - "Demons" is a Greek word that means "divinity", "divine power", "a lower divine being," and "evil spirit. "Evil spirit" is a New Testament usage or interpretation. More about Biblical use in this article.) Today, we would use a psychological term for these disorders, like "delusions", or, "personal demons".

then --  (CW) The word translated as "then" is a particle marking a sudden change or explaining or drawing attention to a consequence of an action. It is used in questions that expect a negative answer. With the objective negative, it expects a positive answer. It is not one of the words commonly translated as "then" or "therefore."

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") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

kingdom  - "Kingdom" is a Greek word that means "kingdom", "dominion", "royal power," and "reign." It is the same word used in the phrase "kingdom of heaven." It means that which is ruled by a specific person. It is not a synonym for a state, a country, or any social group of people. It is defined by its control or ownership by a master and refers both to people, organizations, and property under that control (see this article on the use of the "kingdom of heaven").

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.

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. 

God - - The word translated as "God' means "God" and "deity".  Christ usually uses this word with an article "the God" to refer to the Father, but here he doesn't use the article so "a god" or "a deity." The phrase, "the kingdom of God" appears at the very end of the verse, not in the middle. It is the punch-line. 

has .This helping verb indicates the present tense of the verb, but the sense means "at a point in time" either in the past, present, or future.

come " - (CW) ""Come" is a Greek verb that actually means "to come or do first". It has the sense of overtaking someone or beating them in a race. This and a similar verse in Luke are the only times Jesus uses this word. This is not the common Greek word translated as "come" in the NT. A normal Greek translation would be "overtook you" or, since a preposition is used, "caught up to you". However, from the OT verse quoted, the sense seems ot be more "reach" or "attain"

unto  - -- The word translated as "unto" means "on", "over", "upon", "against", "before", "after", "during", "by" or "on." With the accusative object, as we see here, 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)."

you. - -- The "you" here is the second-person, plural pronoun in the form of an object.

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "it is"  doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "the" before "spirit" doesn't exist in the source.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "that"  doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "devils" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before the second "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "then" is not the common word usually translated as "then."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "come" is not the common word usually translated as "come."

The Spoken Version: 

The leader of the Distinguished didn’t like the way that Master had turned about the discussion to focus on the weaknesses of some of their members. He also didn’t like how his members were admitting that the Master acted with the power of the Divine.
He confronted the Nazarene, saying, “If you yourself use the power demonic spirits, you must be judged, not our members!”.
“If, however, in a spirit of God, I myself toss out these demons, right away, it overtakes you...this realm of the Divine!”
He pointed upward.
“This realm of the skies,” his students and many of the crowd chanted.

Front Page Date: 

Nov 3 2020