Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away,

KJV Verse: 

Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

This universe and this planet are going to pass away, but my ideas might never pass away.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

The word translated as "words" doesn't mean "word," but has the sense more of ideas. Jesus uses an untranslated definite article ("the", "this") before the word for "earth" and "sky" ("heaven") indicate that there are more than one of these things.

The phrase "pass away" is from a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass over". The first occurance is in the future tense. The sense here could be "pass by", "surpass", but the sense of "pass away" as in "die" is not at all clear. The word means to pass the time and can refer to times past, but it also means to "outwit" and "elude" and "be superior". It also means to "pass by" a place or to "arrive" at a place. In the Latin Vulgate, this verb was translated as "transient" which is the future, plural, active form of the word that means "to cross". In Greek, the form is neither active nor passive, but the middle form which means that the subjects are acting on themselves.

The second occurrence of this verb, referring to Jesus's words, is not in the future tense, but in the form of possibility, indicating something that "might" happen. The translation is misleading in not recognizing this clear and intention change of form.

KJV Analysis: 

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. 

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.

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".

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. 

earth -- The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, not society, which Christ describes as the world. See this article for more on these words.

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.

pass away, The phrase "pass away" is from a verb that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away". The form is the future tense, as translated, and this is different from the two uses of this verb in this verse and the previous one (Mat 24:34). The form is something acting on itself, "pass themselves away".

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but", "however", and "on the other hand". Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better. 

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine."

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. 

words "Words" is translated from a Greek word that means "calculation," or "reasoning." It is the source of our word "logic" and is the root word for all the English words that end in "-ology." Most biblical translations translated it as "word" for somewhat poetic reasons. More about this word in this article.

shall -- (CW)This helping verb "shall" does not indicate the future tense, but that the following verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" phrase. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

not -- The "not" here is both of the Greek negatives used together. Greek has two negatives, one objective, one subjective. The use of both together is more extreme, like saying "you cannot really think" or, more simply, "never".

pass away. -- The phrase "pass away" is from same verb as above that means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), and "pass away". The form is not the future tense, as translated and as seen above, but in a form that means something is possible, that it "might" happen.

Greek Vocabulary: 

(article pl masc nom) 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."

οὐρανὸς (noun pl masc nom) "Of 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 (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) 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."

γῆ (noun sg fem nom) "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet.

παρελεύσεται, (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall...pass away" is from parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," "escape notice", and "pass without heeding."

οἱ (article pl masc nom) 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."

δὲ (conj) "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"). λόγοι (noun pl masc nom) "Words" is from logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

λόγοι (noun pl masc nom) "Word" is logos, which means "word", "computation", "relation", "explanation", "law", "rule of conduct", "continuous statement", "tradition", "discussion," "reckoning," and "value."

μου -- (pro sg masc gen) "My" is mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

οὐ μὴ "Not" is from ou me, the two forms of Greek negative used together. Ou is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. Mê (me) 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.

παρέλθωσιν. (verb 3rd pl aor subj act) "Shall...pass away" is from parerchomai, which means "go by", "pass by", "outstrip" (in speed), "pass away", "outwit", "past events" (in time), "disregard", "pass unnoticed," "escape notice", and "pass without heeding."

The Spoken Version: 

"The universe and the planet," he explained to them with certainty. "They are themselves going to pass away. My lessons, however..."

He paused as if thinking about it.

"Never ever!" he said, but then he smiled and added with a shrug in seeming contradiction. "They might pass away."

 

Related Verses: 

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Jesus defines the universe and our world as the will of God coming into existence. I have written elsewhere that Christ's use of the term "heaven" does not conform at all to our modern idea of a Christian heaven. Rather it is a way of expressing the idea of existence outside the boundaries of our world. Both our world and the rest of what exists in an expression of God's will.

The line from the Lord's prayer translated as "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." is written from our modern Christian idea of "heaven." The Greek translated as "Your will is coming into existence as in the heaven and earth.' Heaven and earth are understood to encompass all of creation, which is why I prefer to translated as "the universe and our world."

As the universe and our world continue to change, the fullness of God's design is unfolded over time. This is understood to be the tangible result of God's will acting in the material world.

Front Page Date: 

Aug 25 2016