Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

Because it is going to be awakened: people by people, and nations by nations and there are going to be famines and shocks against areas.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This verse is so different in the Greek from the English translation (in all Bibles) that it appears something is odd here. It starts with a verb, which is translated in a way that it is not usually translated. That verb is singular but seems to have multiple subjects in the KJV translation. A number of words are translated here differently than they are usually translated in the NT, especially the keyword "against." Given all this, it isn't surprising the KJV might be pretty far from the Greek. Remember, the context here is the question about the end of the age, which Christ amends to address the purpose or fulfillment of the age.

The word translated as "for" introduces a reason or explanation. To prevent a run-on sentence, it can be translated as "this is why" or "this is because..." to start a new sentence. In a short question, it is "why?" or "how?"

The word for "arise" means "awaken" or "stir up" and it is the same word Christ uses to describe God raising the dead and false prophets arising. At the beginning of a sentence, a verb acts commonly as a question or as an "it is" type statement. It is a future, passive, singular verb, so "it is going to be awakened" or "it is going to be stirred up." The "it" referred to seems to be "end" in the previous verse, but this "end" means "end" in the sense of "purpose" or "goal."

The word translated as "nation" but it is usually translated as "gentiles." The use here is more correct, but not quite Its primary meaning is "a group of people living together," a nation, a tribe, or a cast of people. Later it came to mean "barbarous nations" similar to our idea of ethnic people. It is singular in both occurrences.

The word translated as "against" twice in this verse means "to", "in," "before", "by" or "on." It can mean "against," but Christ doesn't use it that way. Interestingly, the Greek word that Christ typically uses that is translated as "against" appears later in the verse, but it is not translated as it normally is either.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but, in a series, is often best translated as "not only...but also." When used in writing, it creates complex sentences, but when spoken, it makes a good pausing point so that an important or humorous word can follow.

The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" is often more appropriate. Both of its uses are plural.

When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek in the third person plural. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

Famines" is the Greek word for "hunger", and "famine" in the plural.

The word for "earthquakes" means "shaking", "earthquake", "shocks", and "agitation." If Christ is explaining the problems related to war, which seems like the context, agitation works better that a natural disaster like earthquakes.

The word translated as "in diverse" means "down from", "against", "separately", "individually", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally." Since the topic is a period, "during the course of" seems to fit well.

The word translated as "place" means "region", "position", but it means " is also a metaphor for "opening", "occasion," and "opportunity."

Greek Vocabulary: 

ἐγερθήσεται” (verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) "Shall arise" is from egeiro, which means "to awaken", "to stir up," and "to rouse."

γὰρ "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."

ἔθνος (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Nation" is from ethnos, which means "a number of people living together", "company", "body of men," "tribe", "a people", "nation," and (later) "foreign, barbarous nations."

ἐπὶ "Against" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

ἔθνος (noun sg neut nom/acc) "Nation" is from ethnos, which means "a number of people living together", "company", "body of men," "tribe", "a people", "nation," and (later) "foreign, barbarous nations." -- The word translated as "Gentiles" does not mean gentiles or even foreigners. Its primary meaning is "a group of people living together," a nation, a tribe, or a cast of people. Later it came to mean "barbarous nations" similar to our idea of ethnic people. It is in the same form as the "them" above, so "to them" or "for them."

καὶ "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."

βασιλεία (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." --

ἐπὶ βασιλείαν,” (noun pl neut nom/acc) "Kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." --

καὶ "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."

ἔσονται (verb 3rd pl fut ind) "There shall be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

λιμοὶ (noun pl masc/fem nom) "Famines" is from limos, which means "hunger", "famine," and "a hungry wrench."

καὶ "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."

σεισμοὶ (noun pl masc nom) "Earthquakes" is from seismos, which means "shaking", "earthquake", "shock", "agitation", "commotion", "blackmail," and "extortion."

κατὰ "In diverse" is from kata, which means "downwards", "down from", "down into", "against", "down toward", "opposite", "separately", "individually", "at a time", "towards", "in accordance with", "concerning", "corresponding with", "during the course of a period," and "severally."

τόπους: (noun pl masc acc) "Places" is from topos, which means "place", "region", "position", "part [of the body]", "district", "room," and "topic." It is also a metaphor for "opening", "occasion," and "opportunity."

The Spoken Version: 

"Why?" he asked rhetorically, referring to his statement about the goal not being reached.

"It is going be awakened," he explained. "Tribe..."

He held one hand in front of him and put his other hand over it.

"Upon tribe," he said. Then raising the first hand above the second, and the putting the second over it again."Nations upon nations."

The apostles got the picture of something building up.

"And," Christ admitting more sadly. "There are going to be famines and shocks involving areas."

Related Verses: 

Jul 14 2016