Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation

KJV Verse: 

Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

At the same time, however, after the pressure of those times there, the sun is going to be made dark and the moon is not going to give that light of hers and the stars are going to fall from the sky and the influence of the sky is going to be rocked.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

While this phrase seems very apocalyptic in translation, it seems less so in the Greek. What is hidden is that this verse refers omens occurring in at times with trouble in certain places, not to one time after a specific event. The verse describes solar and lunar eclipses and meteors falling, all of which are considered bad omens in times of trouble. This fits with the previous verse, Mat 24:28, because the birds ("eagles" or, more accurately "vultures") were also considered birds of omen in Greek.

The phrase about the sun and the moon is shown in quotes in the mGNT. This verse rephrases Isa 13:10 in the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint (see the Greek version here: Isa 13:10). Jesus referred to Isa 13:8 two verses ago in Mat 24:9. Though Jesus shows his ability to directly quote the Old Testament in Greek, sometimes he just paraphrases it like he does here using its key words. 

This Greek word translated as "light" is not the common word but a one that Jesus only uses twice, here and in the parallel in Mark. There is likely an OT source for this word as well, but the verses from Isaiah use the common Greek word for light. This seems to be a reference to the Greek of Joel 2:10 (the Greek version is here) another apocalyptic verse. In the OT, this Greek word is translated from the Hebrew nogahh. The word translated as "light" in Isa 13:10 above is a different word, 'owr. So the use of this uncommon word was a conscious choice on the part of Jesus.

Most of the translation issues here come from using the word "heaven" or "heavens" instead of "the sky" which is what the Greek says.

KJV Analysis: 

Immediately -- "Immediately" is from an adverb that means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

untranslated -- (MW) An untranslated conjunction usually translated as "but" appears here. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 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.

after (prep) "With" is meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to,"  "after", "behind",  and "next afterward." -- "After" is the Greek word that usually means "with" or a related concept such as "among" or "by the means of". It also refers to "after" or "behind" when referring to a place, time, or pursuit.

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. 

tribulation -- The Greek word translated as "tribulation" means "pressure," which is translated as a metaphor for "oppression." Since it primarily means pressure in the sense of "crushing" (and "castration"), it is a more colorful word than the words we used to describe a time of difficulty. Prior to Christ's use, it appears in Greek literature more as a scientific term than a social description.

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 nouns. 

those -- The word translated as "those" is an adjective that highlights its noun as in a specific place from a word that means "there." Note that the use of this word could indicate that Jesus was referring to a time in a specific physical location, rather than a time in history.

untranslated -- (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. 

days  -- The Greek word translated as "days" means "time," in general, and refers specifically to the "daytime."

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

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. 

sun -- "Sun" is the noun, which means the "sun", "life", "day", "sunshine", "the sun's heat", "brightness," and the sun-god.

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the following verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translated the Greek verb forms into English.

darkened, "Darkened" is from the verb form of the word for "darkness" that means "to make dark", and, in the passive, as it appears here "to be darkened," and "to be blinded."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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.  

moon -- "Moon" is the noun that means "moon", "full moon", "month," and is the name of the goddess of the moon.

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

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence to captures the same idea.

give The verb translated as "give" means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe." It is almost always translated as some form of "give."

her -- The word translated as "her" is the Greek word commonly translated as pronouns in English.  This word follows the word light so "of hers."

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

light, -- (WW) "Light" is from a noun that means "light," "splendor," and "luster," but it is not the root word usually translated as "light." It is a more complex worth with the sense of "brightness" and "shining."  It is used as a metaphor for glory, pride, and joy. However, this is not the common Greek word translated as "light." This word is only used here and in the parallel in Mark, In the OT, where this word is used a little over a dozen times, it is translated usually as "brightness" and in Joel as "shining" where it is a reference to the Hebrew word nogahh.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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. 

stars -- The word translated as "stars" means "star" but it is also the term for "shooting stars", which is the sense here.

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

fall -- The word translated as "shall...fall" is the verb that means "fall" generally and has a lot of related uses like the English word.

from -- The word translated as "from" means "from" or "out of" in location and when referring to a source.

untranslated -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article. 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. More about the word in this article. While Jesus often uses it in the plural when referring to it as the throne of God, here it is singular.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as".

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. 

powers -- "Powers" is from a word that describes abilities and capacities, so "power", "might", "influence", and "force." It does not carry the sense of authority over others, either people or laws. In describing the "influence" of the sky, the sense is people's confidence in the sky for its ability to predict the future.

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 nouns. 

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. 

heavens -- (WN) Heavens" is from the same word as "heaven" used above and, again, it is singular, not plural, so "the sky." The opposite problem appears in the parallel verse of Mark 13:25 where the Greek is plural and it is translated as singular.

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

be -- This helping verb "be" indicates that the following verb is passive. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translated the Greek verb forms into English.

shaken: -- "Shaken" is from saleuô, which means "to cause to rock", "to make vibrate", "to be shaken", "to waver", "to totter", "to move up and down", "to roll," and "to toss."

Greek Vocabulary: 

Εὐθέως (adverb) "Immediately" is from eutheos,which as an adverb, it means "straight", "simple", "straightway," forthwith", "immediately", "directly," and "at once."

δὲ (conj) Untranslated is 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").

μετὰ (prep) "After" is from meta, which means "with", "in the midst of", "among", "between", "in common", "along with", "by the aid of", "in one's dealings with", "into the middle of", "coming into", "in pursuit of", "after", "behind", "according to," and "next afterward."

τὴν (article sg fem acc) "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."

θλίψιν (noun sg fem acc) "Tribulation" is from thlipsis, which means "pressure", "crushing", and "castration". It is a metaphor for "affliction"and "oppression." Earlier in Mat 24:9, it was translated as "afflicted."

τῶν (article pl fem gen) Untranslated 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."

ἡμερῶν (noun pl fem gen) "Of... days" is from hemera, which, as a noun, means "day" "a state or time of life", "a time (poetic)", "day break" and "day time." It is also and also has a second meaning, of "quiet", "tame (animals)", "cultivated (crops)," and "civilized (people)." --

ἐκείνων (adj pl fem gen)"Those" is from ekeinos which means "the person there", "that person", "that thing", "in that case", "in that way", "at that place," and "in that manner."

(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." -- 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. 

ἥλιος (noun sg masc nom) "Sun" is from helios, which means the "sun", "life", "day", "sunshine", "the sun's heat", "brightness," and the sun-god.

σκοτισθήσεται, [2 verses](verb 3rd sg fut ind pass) "Shall... be darkened" is from skotizo, which means "to make dark."

καὶ (conj/adv) "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." -

(article sg fem 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."

σελήνη [3 verses](noun sg fem nom) "Moon" is selene, which means "moon", "full moon", "month," and is the name of the goddess of the moon.

οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective.

δώσει (verb 3rd sg fut ind act) "Shall...give" is from didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

τὸ (article sg neut acc) Untranslated 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."

φέγγος [2 verses](noun sg neut acc) "Light" is from pheggos, which means "light", "splendor", "luster", "moonlight", "day," and "light" as a metaphor for glory, pride, and joy.

αὐτῆς, (adj sg fem gen) "Her" is from 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."

καὶ (conj/adv) "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." -

οἱ (article pl 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."

ἀστέρες (noun pl masc nom) "Stars" is from aster, which means "star", "shooting star," and "meteor" and is used lyrically to refer to flame, light, and fire. It was also used, as in English, to refer to "illustrious" people.

πεσοῦνται (verb 3rd pl fut ind mid) "Fall" is from the verb pipto, which means "to fall", "to fall down", "to be cast down," and "to fall upon."

ἀπὸ "From" is from apo, a preposition of separation which means "from" or "away from" from when referring to place or motion, "from" or "after" when referring to time, "from" as an origin or cause.

τοῦ (article sg masc gen) Untranslated 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."

οὐρανοῦ (noun sg masc gen) "Heaven" is from 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."

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." -

αἱ (article pl fem 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."

δυνάμεις ( noun pl fem nom ) "Power" is dunamis, which means "power", "might", "influence", "authority", "capacity", "elementary force", "force of a word," and "value of money." Elemental forces are forces such as heat and cold.

τῶν (article sg masc gen) "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."

οὐρανῶν (noun sg masc gen) "Of the heavens" is from 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."

σαλευθήσονται.” (verb 3rd pl fut ind pass) "Shaken" is from saleuô, which means "to cause to rock", "to make vibrate", "to be shaken", "to waver", "to totter", "to move up and down", "to roll," and "to toss."

Wordplay: 

"Sun" also means "brightness" and "be darken" also means "be blinded." 

The Spoken Version: 

"At the same time," he said. "However..."

He paused, holding up a hand for patience, while he took a sip from a water.

"With the pressure of the times in those places," he explained in a matter of fact tone. "The sun is going to get darker.

He passed his right hand before his face and closed his right eye.

"Also, the moon isn't really going to give its light," he continued.

He passed his left hand in front of his face and closed his left eye.

'Also, shooting stars are going to fall from the sky," he said, dragging both hands down with their fingers spead to simulate meteors falling.

"And the influence of the sky is going to be shaken," he added casually.

Related Verses: 

KJV Translation Issues Count: 

6

KJV Translation Issues List: 

  • MW - Missing Word -- The conjunction meaning "but" is not shown in the English
  • MW - Missing Word -- The article "the" is not shown in the English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- Another article "the" is not shown in the English.
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "light" is better translated as "brightness" to conform with its use in the OT and so it isn't confused with the common word for "light."
  • MW - Missing Word -- Another article "the" is not shown in the English.
  • WN -- Wrong Number -- The Greek word for "heaven" is singular but translated as plural.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 18 2016