Mark 13:15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down

Greek Verse: 

Literal Translation: 

The one upon the roof no go down nor enter anything to get out of that house of his.

KJV Verse: 

Mark 13:15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

Jesus uses the term "house" as an analogy for families and relationships. Though we refer to Jesus's occupation as a "carpenter," his real occupation was a house builder. In his teaching, he saw his work as building relationships among people.

The word translated as "housetop" is the common word for "house" in Greek ad the word from which we get the English "domicile." However, starting with the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, this word was used to refer to the top of the house that is the "dome."

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article sg masc nom) "Him that" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ἐπὶ (prep) "Against" is epi, which means "on", "over",  "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," "after" in position, "during", and "against."

τοῦ (article sg masc nom) "the" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

δώματος [5 times]( noun sg neut gen ) "Housetop" is doma, which means a "a house", "a hall", "a roof," or "a family."

μὴ (partic) "Not" is me , which is the negative used in prohibitions and expressions of doubt meaning "not" and "no." As οὐ (ou) negates fact and statement; μή rejects, οὐ denies; μή is relative, οὐ absolute; μή subjective, οὐ objective.

καταβάτω   { καταβαινέτω} (verb 3rd sg aor imperat) "Go down" is from 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]." The actual spelling is that of an adjective {καταβατός}(adj sg masc gen) karabatos, which means "steep" and "descending". It cold also be the noun {καταβάτη}(noun sg masc gen) katabates, which means "one who dismounts".

μηδὲ (partic) "Neither" is mede, which means "and not", "but not", "nor," and "not."

εἰσελθάτω( verb 3rd sg aor imperat act )  "Enter" is eiserchomai which means both "to go into", "to come in", "to enter", "to enter an office", "to enter a charge," (as in court) and "to come into one's mind."

τι ( pron sg neut acc ) "Anything" is tis which can mean "someone", "any one", "everyone", "they [indefinite]", "many a one", "whoever", "anyone", "anything", "some sort", "some sort of", "each", "any", "the individual", "such," and so on. In a question, it can mean "who", "why," or "what." -- The Greek word translated as "some" in the singular means "anyone", "someone," and "anything." In the plural, it means "some", "they," and "those."

ἆραι (verb aor inf act ) "To take" is airo, which means "to lift up", "to raise", "to raise up", "to exalt", "to lift and take away," and "to remove." In some forms, it is apaomai, which means to "pray to," or "pray for."

ἐκ (prep) "Out of" is ek, which means 1) [of motion] "out of", "from", "by", "away from;" 2) [of place] "beyond", "outside of", "beyond;" 3) [of succession] "after", "from;" 4) [of rest] "on", "in," 5) [of time] "since", "from", "at", "in;" 5) [of materials] "out of", "made from."

τῆς (article sg fem gen) Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

οἰκίας (noun sg fem gen) "House" is oikia, which means "house", "building," and "household."

αὐτοῦ (adj sg masc gen) "His"  is autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him", "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord." In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- There is no Greek words that can be translated as "and" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. However, there was a word that should be translated as "but" or "however" in the KJV source.

let -- This "let" is the helping verb used to translated the Greek form of the third-person command. In English all commands are in the second-person. This form is used something like our word "must."

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

that is -- There is no Greek words that can be translated as "is" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used. It was added for clarity.

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, 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. 

housetop -- "Housetop" is a Greek noun that means a "a house", "a hall", "a roof," or "a family." It also means "housetop" but that meaning seems to have started in the Septuagint, the Greek OT. This Greek word is the root for our word "domicile."

not -- The negative used here is the Greek negative of a subjective opinion. The sense is that "you don't want" to do something, not that it isn't done or don't think something that might be true. If it wasn't done or wasn't true, the objective negative of fact would be used.

go down The problem here is with the word translated as "come down." The KJV version assumes that it is an alternative spelling of a verb meaning to "go down". If we assume the word was the misspelled verb, its meaning is "come down" and it is the verb Christ uses to describe his own coming down from heaven and it is a third party command ("he must not" or "don't let him"). However, it is the correct spelling for an adjective meaning "descending", which also works here if we assume the "to take" is a form of verb.

into the house, -- There is no Greek words that can be translated as "also" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

neither -- The word for "nor" is the Greek subjective negative plus the Greek word for "but."

enter -- "Enter" is a word that means "go or come into" and has the double meaning of "coming into one's mind."

therein, -- There is no Greek words that can be translated as "it" in the source we use today nor was there one in the source that the KJV translators used.

to -- This "to" is from the infinitive form of the following verb.

take -- "Take" is one of Christ's favorite "multiple meaning" words. It is a verb that means "to raise up", "elevate", "to bear", "to carry off", "to take and apply to any use," and "to cause to cease."Christ uses this verb to refer to what will happen to "the son of man," which can apply either to his being raised from the dead or lifted up on the cross.

any thing  -- The word translated as "a certain" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but can be used to mean someone of note as we would say "a someone". -- The word translated as "what" means primarily "anything" or "anyone," but Jesus often uses it to start a question so it means "who", "what", or even "why". 

out of -- The Greek preposition translated as "of" means "out of" or "from." In Greek, they use the genitive case instead of a preposition for the types of phrases with usually use with "of."

untranslated -- 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. 

his -- The word translated as "him" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  The word means "the same" when used as an adjective. In the adverbial form, it  means "just here" or "exactly there."

house: -- The Greek word translated as "house," refers to the building itself, all the people that dwell in it, including slaves and servants, all property owned by that family, and all the descendants of the continued line. We might say "estate" in English to capture this idea.

Wordplay: 

The world play here centers around of the two meanings of a "house" as both a  building and a family and household. These two meanings pull out different sense from the terms for  "going down," "entering in," and taking, with can also mean "attaining," "taking an office," and "lifting up." While their first meanings work with the physical sense of a house, the second set of meanings relate to our roles and responsibilities in our relationships.

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

This series of verses refer the "end of an era," which is very different from "the final judgment." The specific era that is ending is that of the Jewish state of Christ's time, but he uses this future event as an analogy for the eventual destruction of all human institutions and, in a more general sense, our lives.

Here the message is both that we cannot save what we should value most, that is, our families and their possessions, during these transitions. Indeed, the central tragedy of death is not the loss of our physical bodies, but our connection with our families and loved ones. Those relationships, like our mind and body, are temporary.

During end of an era, we may be tempted "rise to the occasion" and use the situation to lift up our houses, taking advantage of the crisis. Christ warns us that this is impossible.

Front Page Date: 

Dec 20 2019