Article of the Month
This article is not really about lightning.
It is about the Greek word which is translated
But the word also is translated other ways.
It is what we might call a “contextually
In other words, it doesn’t MEAN
“lightning”—although it CAN. But its meaning is
“brightness” or “shining,” or even “bright shining,” and
the way it is translated MUST be determined by its
The reason we are looking at this word is because it is
usually MISTRANSLATED in Matthew 24:27.
Because of this mistranslation, many have come to
misunderstand an important prophecy spoken by Jesus.
is the Greek word translated “lightning” in the New
It occurs nine times (KJV),
Eight of those times it is translated
We can be certain that three of
them should be translated “lightning” because
they are linked with THUNDER!
This is one way which context helped the
(See Revelation 4:5; 8:5; and 16:18.)
— NOT LIGHTNING!
When we look at Luke 11:36, however, we can see very
clearly why the translators HAD TO translate “astrapee”
The verse reads in part:
“…the bright shining of a candle
doth give thee light.”
is so plain that the word (“bright shining”) in
this context cannot be translated “lightning”!
It also is plain that the word does
mean “bright shining.”
Because “lightning” does, indeed, shine brightly, this
Greek word is used to describe it.
and this is important
word, itself, DOES NOT mean lightning, and it can be
applied to any bright object.
— MATTHEW 24:27
Knowing (from Jesus’ usage in Luke 11) the true
Scriptural meaning of this Greek word, we now can look
at Matthew 24:27 and can, BY CONTEXT, come to its true
don’t even have to be able to read Greek!
The passage reads like this:
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east
and shineth even unto the west, so shall
also the coming (Greek = PRESENCE)
Son of Man be.”
What comes out of the east and shines to the west?
We all immediately realize that this is a
reference to the course of the SUN.
Lightning certainly does not do
this on any predictable basis.
“Lightning” is an OBVIOUSLY poor choice by the
is difficult to know why translators chose
“lightning” in this context.
It is more difficult to know why they continue to
do so. While
we don’t want to ascribe motives to their choice, it
seems likely that the traditional belief that Jesus’
second advent occurs all of a sudden
like a lightning bolt
the reason for the translation error.
But we must never let tradition color our choice as we
The directional reference which Jesus
makes here is SO STRONG as to insist that the
“bright shiner” here is the sunlight
— not lightning.
The result is that GRADUALNESS rather than
SUDDENNESS becomes the thought of this prophecy.
this same verse, the translators chose “coming” as the
translation for the Greek word “parousia.”
But “parousia” does not contain the
thought of arrival, but of presence.
Jesus is explaining that his “thief-like”
presence at his second advent would be recognized
like the dawning of the sun.
(See I Thessalonians 5:2;
II Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15.)
Eventually, the presence will be known and
recognized by all.
But it begins just as the sun rises
scarcely perceptible, even by those carefully watching.
This “little” item regarding the second advent has been
obscured over the centuries because of a mistranslation.
But it is, indeed, a “big” item when we seek
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