John's Literary Devices

Across his Revelation ocean of wisdom John launches a full flotilla of literary devices that veil his meanings by both choice and chance. You already saw his verbal-thematic links, floating-terms, hidden titles, cover-names, number-codes, and time-prophecies. What follows completes the lists of floating-terms and number-codes and adds many more literary devices, by verse.
Floating-Terms. The following floating-terms join the ones listed in the main Introduction. As before, each term in bold qualifies the term before it and the term after it:
1.17–18: I myself am the First and the Last, the Living-Being living on, I have also gone through death
2.10: The lying devil is going to cast some of you into prison, so that you may be tried, you shall also have trouble
2.26–28: I shall give him or her authority over nations…as I also myself have attained from my Father, so I shall assign to him or her the Dawn-Star
3.4: You do have some people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments, because they are worthy, they shall walk with me in white.
4.8: The four Living-Beings, one after another bearing aboard six wings are studded with eyes outside and in [qualifying Living-Beings and also wings]
5.8–9: The four Living-Beings and the 24 elders fell down before the Ram, each bearing a harp and gold chalices full of incenses…‌they are also singing a new song
6.9–10: I saw…the souls of those slain for this Word of God and for this testimony that they bore they also cried out
6.17–7.1: Who can stand firm after this vision. After this vision [repeating to close one chapter and open the next] I saw four Angels
7.2: Then I saw another Angel arising from the rising-place of the sun, bearing a seal from the living God, he cried out in a loud voice
8.7: Hail and fire broke out, mixed with blood, it was now dashed into the earth
12.2: A woman dressed in the sun, beneath her feet the moon, over her head a crown of 12 stars, and pregnant she is shrieking in labor
12.4: When she would give birth to her child, her child [repeating] it would devour
12.11: They have themselves defeated it through the blood of the Ram and through this Word of their testimony they have not clung to life [but this has now been superseded by a version with no floating-term]
12.17–13.1: It set out to fight the rest of her children.…Hereby it stood firm on the sand of the sea. It stood firm on the sand of the sea [repeating to open a new chapter]. From this sea, I saw a beast arising
14.6: Another Angel…bearing eternal good news to joyfully proclaim to those seated over the earth and over every nation, tribe, language-group, and people [qualifying to joyfully proclaim and also those seated]
17.9: This indeed the mind with wisdom! [qualifying the paragraphs both before and after it]
17.9: The seven heads are seven mountains where the woman sits over them. Over them [repeating] are seven rulers
18.6–7: Double and double again, according to her dealings, fix a double-draught for her
19.12: Wearing on his head many sovereign-crowns, bearing a written name [repeating having as both wearing and bearing]
20.3: After these years it is bound down, it is bound [repeating] to be set free for a short time
20.4: The souls of those beheaded for this testimony of, by, and about Jesus, and for this Word of God also those who had not worshiped the beast
22.16: I myself am the root and the shoot of a beloved David, the shining Dawn-Star [qualifying the root and the shoot and also a beloved David]
22.16–17: The shining Dawn-Star, the Spirit and the bride. The Spirit and the bride [repeating] say ‘Come!’
Number-Codes. The following number-codes join those listed in the main Introduction:
Number-codes that tag Messengers:
6.9/8.3b, 9.12, 11.3, & 16.6: 2 tags them as Sacrificial- and Incense-Altars, as 2nd and 3rd Trump-Ta-Ras, as two Witnesses, and as the 2nd and 3rd Witnesses of Jesus
8.13; 14.6–9 & 21.13: 3 tags them as Trump-Ta-Ras, Angels, and gates in each New Jerusalem side-wall
4.8, 7.1 & 9.13 × 2: 4 tags them as Living-Beings, Angels, and horns of the Incense-Altar
1.3, etc.: 7 additionally tags seven mentions each of blessed (1.3, 14.13, 16.15, 19.9, 20.6, 22.7 & 14), right-hand (1.16, 17, 20, 2.1, 5.1, 5.7 & 10.5), bottomless pit (9.1, 2, 11, 11.7, 17.8, 20.1 & 3), openings (4.1, 5.5, 9.2, 11.19, 15.5, 19.11 & 20.12), attributes of the Ram (5.12), attributes of God (7.12), and types of men (6.15)
Number-codes tagging the foes of Messengers:
13.1 & 13.11, 13.11, & 19.20: 2 tags them as beasts arising from the sea and land, the two horns of the beast arising from the land, and the beast and false-prophet
9.18; 16.13; 18.10, 16 & 19: 3 tags them as afflictions, foul spirits, and types of people witnessing the fall of Babylon
4.8, 7.1, 9.13; 6.1–8 & 7.1: 4 tags them as horses and winds
12.3, 17,3, 7, 9 x 2, 10, 11 & 17.9: 7 tags them as heads, horns, rulers, and mountains
13.18: 666 the AD year, tags the beast as an evil ruler.[1]
High number-codes contain embedded sub-codes that tag facets of Faiths
21.17: 144 cubits embeds codes for the Faiths’ many followers progressively perfecting human values. The biblical square 144 codes for perfection. Its square-root 12 codes for Faiths. The unit cubit codes for human values.
7.4–8, 11.13, 14.1 & 3, 21.16: 1000 codes for many people
14.20: 1,600 furlongs embeds codes for attaining perfection through a long period of hard work. The biblical square 1,600 codes for attaining perfection. Its square-root 40 codes for a long time. The unit furlong codes for hard work
11.13: 7,000 killed embeds codes for many people in the Faiths converted. The 7 codes for the Faiths of Asia. Thousand codes for many people. Killed codes for spiritual “death” to an old Faith caused by conversion to a successor Faith.
21.16: 12,000 furlongs embeds codes for hard work by many believers in the Faiths (12 for Faiths, thousand for many believers, furlongs for hard work).
7.4 & 14.1: 144,000 furlongs is additionally the total length of the 12 diamond edges of New Jerusalem. Curiously, 144,000 square meters is also the area of the Temple-Platform.
Unusual Translations that differ from the traditional translations appearing in most Bibles now follow. Each has a specific explanation:
1.1 & 5.5; 2.2, 18.20 & 21.14: Apostellō is one of the words that tests translators sorely with meanings like transmit (favored), send out, and commission. Likewise, apostolos may mean emissary (favored), Apostle, missionary, missioner, envoy, delegate, and agent
1.1: Angelos renders equally well as Angel in the left-column translation and as Messenger in the right-column interpretation
1.3: Tēreō tests translators sorely with meanings like take to heart (favored), obey, keep, heed, rely upon, retain, maintain, sustain, guard, keep watch, and observe[2]
1.4: The distinctive Christian greeting Charis tests translators with meanings like Blessings (favored, though idiomatic), Good Wishes, Good Will, Grace, Kindness, Thanks, and Gift. Eirēnē works fine as Shalom or as Peace. So the greeting becomes Blessings and Shalom
1.12, 13, 20, 2.1, 5; 11.4, 18.23 & 21.23: Strictly, luchnia (fem.) means lampstand, while luchnos (masc.) means lamp. But v. 18.23’s luchnia shedding light lets it render generally as lamp (Menorah-Lamp)
1.13, etc.: Revelation’s generous wardrobe of Greek dressing-words reflects that of Hebrew. Each one renders specifically: enduō as adorned in (1.13, 15.6 & 19.14); podērēs as a long robe (1.13); himation as garment (3.4, 5, 18, 4.4, 16.15, 19.13 & 16); periballō en + dative-case as clad in (3.5, 18 & 4.4); stolē as robe (6.11, 7.9, 13, 14 & 22.14); periballō + accusative-case as dressed in (7.9, 13, 10.1, 11.3, 12.1, 19.8 & 13); linon as linen (15.6); periballō + accusative-case as decked for Babylon (17.4 & 18.16); bussos as fine-linen (18.12, 16, 19.8, 14); and kosmeō as arrayed for Jerusalem (21.2 & 19)
1.15 & 2.18: Chalkolibanon ‘refined in a furnace’ renders as white-hot molten bronze. Possible Greek roots are chalkos or bronze/brass/‌copper and leibein or pour forth. Possible Hebrew roots are chalak or slick/smooth and lavan or white (even through libanon also means frankincense)[3]
1.18, etc: Idou renders as a plain Look, Listen, See, Here is, or Here are, rather than as a staid Behold
1.18, 4.9, 10, 5.13, 7.12, 10.6, 11.15, 14.11, 15.7, 19.3, 20.10 & 22.5: The literal rendering into the eras of the eras (eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn) expands successive Eras into Cycles (rather than forever and ever as an idiomatic rendering)
2.2, 9, 13, 19, 3.1, 8, 15 & 17: In its contexts, perfect-tense oida translates literally as I have seen rather than its usual irregular rendering of I know (since I have seen means that now I know)
2.5, 21–22, 9.20–21, 16.9 & 11: Metanoeō (meaning literally consider after) tests translators sorely with meanings like show regret (favored), regret, repent, reconsider, turn away from, mend one’s ways, reform, give up, and discard
2.7: Given that I shall feed him or her from the Tree of Life precedes it, paradēsos renders aptly as orchard rather than paradise or garden, especially since its Hebrew sister-word pardes also means orchard (as well as being a mnemonic for interpretive levels of meaning)
2.10 etc: Stephanos means prize (2.10 & 3.11) or crown (4.4, 10, 6.2, 9.7, 12.1 & 14.14). In contrast, diadēma (12.3, 13.1 & 19.12) means sovereign-crown
2.27: Suntribetai works better as carefully broken up than as punitively smashed
3.2, 8, 9.13 & 20.12, 13.12, 14, 19.20, 7.15 & 19.10: Enōpion (derived from en–ōptanomai or in–sight of) means before, but may also render as in front of, in the sight of, ahead of, facing, on behalf of, or at
3.8, 20 & 4.1: In Revelation’s Temple context, thura renders as Temple-Door rather than as just a door of any building
3.9: In this context the unusual give-word didō renders as give-over (the usual didōmi would render as just give)
3.10, also 2.2 & 10: In the context, peirasmos and peirazō render better as test and try than as their other valid meanings affliction and afflict
3.12: For Temple John uses just naos, meaning the specific main 50 × 40–yard Temple-Sanctuary building. He avoids hieron, meaning the 300 × 200–yard array of buildings that is centered on the naos.
3.14: The title Amen tests translators sorely with meanings like Amen (favored), belief, faithfulness, and master-workman (Hebrew amon[4])
4.6 etc: Thalassa renders well as ocean or sea depending on context,
4.10, etc: Proskuneō tests translators sorely with meanings like worship (favored), submit to, idolize, prostrate oneself, devote oneself, pay homage, honor, revere, and adore
5.1, etc: Dexia (5.1, 7, 10.5, 13.16) means right-hand specifically. Cheir (6.5, 7.9, 8.4, 9.20, 10.2, 8, 10, 14.9, 14, 17.4, 19.2, 20.1 & 4) means just hand, even where the context indicates which
5.1: Outside here qualifies sealed rather than written
5.8, 8.3, 4, 11.18, 13.7, 10, 14.12, 16.6, 17.6, 18.20, 24, 19.8 & 20.9: The plural hoi hagioi stresses devotion to God and tests translators sorely with meanings like the faithful (favored), faithful believers, the saints, devoted, select, outstanding, holy, devout, good, dedicated, and God’s people.[5] In contrast, the singular agios (vv. 3.7, 4.8, 6.10, 11.2, 14.10, 20.6, 21.2, 10, 22.11 & 19) renders quite readily as holy, whose Hebrew equivalent is Kadosh.[6]
5.9 & 11.9: The partitive preposition from (ek) renders as folk from before every tribe, language-group, people, and nation
6.1: The odd nominative-case of voice lets it render as: as a voice
6.8 & 13.14: in its contexts, machaira renders better as war than sword
6.11, also 3.2: Plērothosin tests translators sorely with meanings like completely counted (favored), consecrated, complete, finish, sanctified, be complete, perfect, and fill
6.16–17, etc.: The feminine orgē (6.16–17, 18, 11.18, 12.17, 14.10, 16.19 & 19.15) means anger that is internally felt. The masculine Thumos means fury[7] that is externally expressed passionately by lying evil (12.12), fornicating (14.8 & 18.3), or God (14.10, 19, 15.1, 7, 16.1, 19 & 19.15)
7.10: Dative-case to our God and dative-case to the Enthroned-One render as they stand separately (rather than conjoined as to our Enthroned God)
9.1–2, 11, 11.7, 17.8, 20.1 & 3, ABUSSOS, derived from A–BUSSOS meaning literally no–base (usually for the sea), tests translators sorely with meanings like bottomless pit (favored), bottomless canyon, chasm, gorge, or abyss, and endless void
9.6 & 11.13: The old-style those there (ekeinais) days and that there (ekeinē) day signal far-off future times
9.18 & 20: Plēgē renders as a firm affliction rather as a vague plague
9.21, 21.8 & 22.15: The pharm- root of pharmakeia and pharmakoi lets them render as drug-dealing and drug-dealers rather than as the traditional sorcery and sorcerers
10.7: The aorist-tense of joyfully proclaimed lets hōs render as after (not as).[8]
11.1 & 21.15: The saying is done by the reed like a rod. Apropos, kaneh as the Hebrew for rod is the root of canon.
11.8–9: Corpse (ptōma) and dead bodies (ptōmata) represent facets of the runted remnant of the true Islam of Muhammad and Ali after the Umayyads destroyed it spiritually
13.8 & 17.8: Lacking any the, the term katabolēs kosmou renders as a founding of a world-order (not the traditional the creation of the world)
14.4: A prime-pick by God and for the Ram reads by God as an objective dative-case and for the Ram as a subjective dative-case
14.6: Kathēmenos renders literally as those seated (not idiomatically as those living)
14.8 & 18.2: Collapse intoxicated (pepōtiken) and made collapse intoxicated (peptōkan) comprehensively render three valid variant sources: piptein (fall/collapse), pinein (drink), and potizein (also drink).[9]
14.15 & 18: For this withered grain crop, exēranthē translates aptly as dried out (its root means dry). For this rotting grape harvest, ēkmasen translates aptly as peaked (its root means acme/peak)
14.17: As the single type of item held by both messengers, drepanon cannot be a sickle harvesting grain or a scythe gathering grapes. So in this Middle East setting it renders as scimitar.[10]
15.4: Though hosios translates as sacred[11] it does interpret as holy
15.5: Tēs skēnēs tou marturiou as God’s Presence in the Covenant may derive from SHECHINAH for God’s Presence, tabernacle, or tent; MISHCHAN for dwelling, tabernacle, or tent; EDUT for Covenant, testimony, evidence, precept, or meeting; or MO’ED for meeting, witness, point in time, or festival (SHECHINAH and MISHCHAN share the root SH–CH–N; EDUT and MO’ED share ‘–E–D)[12]
17.10: A lone oligon renders as small for size not time. If time were meant then chronon micron (a bit longer, as in 6.11), oligon kairon (a little time, as in 12.12). or mikron chronon (a short time, as in 20.3) would have to appear
19.18 & 21: Plural sarkes renders as remains, while singular sarx renders as flesh (except in 17.16)
18.20: God has condemned her condemnation of you enacts Jewish justice that demands the guilty party pay a remedy to the injured party
18.5: Ekollēthēsan as scaled gains the sky faster than risen, reached, piled up, or infiltrated
19.9, also 19.5: The real subject of tells is really v. 19.5’s voice from the throne
19.18: The objective genitive-case for all people has interpretive purpose
21.5–6: The verb they have come to be (gegonan, the favored variant) lacks a clear subject. Though these Words before it or the A and the Z after it may also be its subject, these visions is still supplied
21.21: Here the partitive pronoun ana renders as each
21.25: For its context, hēmeras renders as over 24 hours (not as by day)
21.27: Koinon can mean defiling (broader and favored) or just defiled[13]
22.3: Katathema tests translators sorely with meanings like exclusion (favored), exclusivity, segregation, discrimination, selectivity, cursed, cursed by God, and even genocidal war.[14] Its Hebrew source cherem (Zech. 14.11) means exclusivity,[15] both positive, as in setting items aside for God, and negative, as in ostracizing wrongdoers
22.20: All people, the broader lectio brevior Codex Alexandrinus variant, is favored over all the faithful, the tighter Codex Sinaiticus variant.[16]
Normal and Idiomatic English Usage. Unavoidably, Revelation’s literal Greek must often render as normal or idiomatic English usage:
2.14 & 20: To eat and to fornicate as into eating and into fornicating
2.23: Kidneys and hearts as hearts and minds. Greeks venerated Kidneys and hearts, and so did Egyptians who put only kidneys and hearts back into mummies
3.7, etc: The literal not–forgetting (a–lēthēs) as true
5.9: The praise, the honor, and the glory as all praise, honor, and glory
7.2: To whom it was trusted to them to hurt as who were trusted with power to hurt
7.3: Do not harm as do not let harm hurt
10.6: No more time shall be as no other time shall exist
11.4: Lord of the World (Kurios Tēs Gēs) as Master of the Universe (in Hebrew Adon Ha’Olam)
11.18, 13.16 & 19.5: The humble and the important as both humble and important
11.18: To award as for awarding, and to ruin as for ruining
12.7: Of the to fight as having to fight[17]
12.11: They did not love their life as they did not cling to life
13.3: As if slain to death as: as if fatally wounded
13.8 & 17.8: People whose name was not to be listed as people whose names have/were not to be listed
13.15, etc: It has been allowed to it as it has been allowed to
14.2: As of harpists as like harpists
14.20 & 21.16: The 200–yard Greek stadium as the 220–yard English furlong
16.9: To glorify as so as to glorify
16.14: To call them together as so as to call them together
18.20: God has damned the damnation of you from her as God has damned her damnation of you
16.21: The variable 57–130 pound Greek talent as the English 112–pound hundredweight
20.8: To muster as mustering
21.21: Each single one of the gates as each single gate
Subjunctive so that clauses render into normal English infinitive usage:
3.9, also 8.3, 9.15, 13.13, 19.15 & 21.15: I shall have them so that they may come as I shall have them come
3.18: So that you may anoint as to anoint
6.2: So that he might conquer as in order to conquer
8.3: Handed to him so that he might offer as handed to him to offer
9.15: Set free so that they might kill as set free to kill
13.13: So that it would even make fire fall the sky as so as even to make fire fall from the sky
13.16: It forces everybody that they might give them a tattoo as it forces everybody to take a tattoo
19.6: Given to her so that she might be dressed in as given to her to dress in
19.15: So that he may strike the nations as for him to strike the nations
21.15: So that he might measure the city as to measure the city.
Double meanings. For gender equality, the masculine singular Greek ho (the one) renders routinely as he or she or person, and brothers renders routinely as brothers and sisters. So by logical extension many other words can legitimately render doubly (or triply) in other ways too:
1.1, 9, 12.17, 19.10 & 20.4: Genitive-case Jesus Christ (gen. Iesou Christou) triply as of, by, and about Jesus Christ, which accommodates three valid meanings for the genitive-case
1.18 & 4.9–10: Tō zōn doubly as Living-Being living on
2.19: More idiomatically and doubly as bigger and better
3.5, also 12.4: Estēka doubly in I was, and have been, standing, with I was standing as the imperf. tense of stēkō, one verb for stand, and with I have been standing as the perf. tense of istēmi, another verb for stand
3.12: Auton triply as him, her, and it qualifying the victor as him or her and the pillar as it
6.12: Olē doubly as whole and full for two aspects of the moon
7.17: The partitive pronoun ana as both up for accusative-case center and also as aboard for genitive-case Throne in up at the center aboard the Throne (ana meson tou thronou)
7.17: Epi doubly as to and on in to life on living sources of waters of life (epi zōēs pēgas hudatōn)
7.17: Zōēs triply as to life, living, and of life in to life on living sources of waters of life
10.11: Epi doubly as about and against
11.19: Autou doubly as its and His qualifying both Ark and Covenant
12.4: Estēken doubly in it was standing in it was, and has been, standing, with it was standing as the imperf. tense of stēkō, one verb for stand, and with it has been standing as the perf. tense of istēmi, another verb for stand
14.4: Opou an doubly as wherever and whenever in whenever he may come, wherever he may go
14.4: Hupagē doubly as may go and may come in whenever he may come, wherever he may go
14.14: Echōn (having) doubly as both wearing and bearing in on his head wearing a gold crown, and in his hand bearing a sharp scimitar
19.12: Echōn (having) doubly as both wearing and bearing in wearing many sovereign-crowns, bearing a written name
21.13: Apo doubly as from and to each compass direction
21.19: All the nominative-cases in foundations (nom.) arrayed with every kind of precious gemstone (nom.), the first foundation (nom.) diamond, the second (nom.) sapphire, etc. see the gemstones not only arraying but also forming the foundations
22.3–4: Auton triply as its, His, and his qualifying the Throne, God, and the Ram
22.12: Mou doubly as my and of myself in my reward of myself (with myself as the reward)
22.16: Dative-case epi doubly as an objective about and as a subjective for in about, and for, the churches
Valid variants combine together as double translations too:
1.5: Lousanti (washed) and lusanti (freed) as washed and freed
1.7: Meta (with) and epi (on) as with and on
3.5: Outos (same one) and outōs (thus) as this same person…thus
14.13: Ap’ arti (from now on) and aparti (certainly so) as from now on. Certainly so
22.14: The wonderful word-playing typographical twins
as those who wash their robes and carry out their commands.
Ambiguous adjectives qualify different nouns simultaneously:
3.14: Of God at the end qualifies not just the creation but the whole Amen, trustworthy and true Witness, and Beginning of the creation
10.11: Many at the end qualifies not just rulers but the whole peoples, nations, and language-groups and rulers
9.13–14: Telling (legonta as masc. acc. sing. and/or neut. plu.) agrees partly with voice (acc. sing. but fem. phōnēn), partly with horns (neut. plu. but gen. keratōn), and partly with gold Incense-Altar (neut. sing. but gen. thusiastērion). So, by default, it qualifies them all
14.19: Great (masc. acc. megan) agrees partly with winepress (acc. but fem. leinon), partly with fury (masc. but gen. thoumou), and partly with God (masc. but gen. Tou Theou). So, by default, it qualifies them all—as huge, full, or magnificent
16.14: Travel out to (neut. plu. ekporeuetai) agrees fully with and therefore qualifies both spirits (neut. plu. pneumata) and wonders (neut. plu. sēmeia)
19.11: Trustworthy and true (masc. nom. pistos kai alēthinos) agrees fully with and therefore qualifies both stallion (masc. nom. hippos) and rider (masc. nom. kathēmenos)
19.12: Since neut. plu. subjects take singular verbs,[18] bearing (masc. sing. echōn) a written name qualifies both he (masc. sing. ho) and sovereign-crowns (neut. plu. diademata)
19.14: Adorned (masc. nom. endedumenoi) agrees partly with armies (nom. but neut. strateumata), and partly with stallions (masc. but dat. hippois). So, by default, it qualifies both
21.2: Arrayed (fem. acc. kekosmēmenēn) agrees fully with and therefore qualifies both city (fem. acc. polin) and bride (fem. Acc. numfēn)
21.8: The one that (masc. nom. ho), agrees neither with place (neut. nom. meros) nor pool (fem. dat. limnē). So, by default, it qualifies them both
21.10–11: Its (fem. Sing. autēn) agrees with and therefore qualifies both city (fem. Sing. polis) and glory (fem. sing. doxa)
21.17: The one that (masc. nom. ho) agrees neither with measure (neut. nom. metron) nor with human-being (masc. dat. anthropou). So, by default, it qualifies both.
Neuter plural words often oddly
3.2: qualify people as well as things, as with the rest (loipa) who are at the point of death[19]
8.3 & 9.12: take singular verbs,[20] as with many incenses was handed to him, and two Trump-Ta-Ras is still coming.
Kai is a wonderful wild-card conjunction opening 74% of the verses of Revelation and connecting the staccato statements of John. Strictly kai means and or signals a pause for breath between sentences. But its very frequency in Revelation gives kai a dependent semantic value for the context in which it is used.[21] So, kai can amazingly translate as also any of the following:
accompanied by, accompanying, additionally, along with, alongside, also, alternatively, although, and, anyway, as, as for, associated with, as well, as well as, at the same time, at that, at this, at which, because, behold, besides, both, but, but also, certainly, consequently, continuing, especially, even, even as, even so, even then, even though, even with, exactly, for, further, furthermore, hardly, henceforth, hereafter, hereunto, hereupon, herewith, hitherto, however, in addition, in any case, including, inclusive of, indeed, instead, in other words, in particular, just, last, later, let alone, like, meaning, meanwhile, moreover, namely, nevertheless, next, nonetheless, not least, not just, not only, notably, notwithstanding, now, or, particularly, plus, provided that, rather, regardless, so, so long as, so that, specifically, still, subsequently, such as, that, that is, that is to say, then, thereafter, thereat, thereupon, this is to say, though, throughout, together with, too, until, when, whereas, whereupon, while, and who!
Honorific Grammar. If I say the reader, I may mean you honorably or some other reader. If I write the writer, I may mean myself honorably or some other writer. Likewise, the many respectful honorific second person vocative plural and singular forms and third-person singular forms that appear in Revelation are inherently ambiguous. The main Revelation Angel uses honorific address with the Seven-Churches by
2.1, 8, 12, 18, 3.1, 7 & 14: introducing himself with the third-person: These things says the one who, etc.
2.2–6, 9–10, 13–16, 19–25, 3.1–4, 8–11, 15–19: addressing each church with a singular you as if to its Angel, as God used to rebuke the Israelites tactfully via a prophet
2.7, 11, 17, 29, 3.6, 13 & 22: closing with the third-person let the one who has ears hear (though it does render as the second person let you that have ears).
Further honorable third-person terms render as second-person vocatives too:
4.11, 11.17 & 16.5: The You Lord and God as You, Our Lord and God
8.13: Those who live as you who live
16.5:The Divine One as You Divine One
18.10, 16 & 19: The colossal city as you colossal city
19.5: His servants as you His servants
22.17: Let the one who hears/thirsts/desires as let you who hear/thirst/desire.
Verb nuances operate in several ways:
• Three verbs are inherently artfully ambiguous in both Greek and English:
1.1–2, 22.20: Witness means both witness what happened and witness to what happened
5.1, 7.2–8 & 22.10: Sealed means both stamped with a seal and sealed up
16.19, 18.5: Remember means both keep in mind and recall
• Nearly every Revelation past-tense is aorist, as if to echo the single past-tense of Hebrew. Strictly, the aorist-tense should render as the English past-tense. But because the temporal sequence of the various Greek tenses is relative, not absolute,[22] the aorist also translates as a perfect-tense in present-tense contexts and as a pluperfect- or future-perfect-tense in layered past-tense contexts
• The present-tense verb to be often goes missing as if to echo its absence from Hebrew (except as God’s ineffable name YHWH), particularly in infusing Chapters 1 and 22 with a timeless feel
• Several verses have sharply switching verb tenses that signal interpretively separate serial spans of time:
2.3: Aorist you stood firm into perfect you have not tired
3.3: Aorist you heard into perfect you have attained
4.10: Present give into future are to fall down, worship, toss
5.7: Aorist he came into perfect he has taken
6.15–16: Aorist has hidden into present are urging
8.5: Perfect has taken up into aorist filled
10.7: Aorist passive was solved into future-prefect will have been solved
12.1–2: Aorist appeared into present shrieks
12.3–4: Aorist appeared into present sweeps down
13.11–12: Aorist hissed into present exercises
16.20–21: Aorist vanished into present hails down
20.8–10: Future shall set out into aorist mounted, surrounded, razed down, devoured, been tossed, then back into future will be tormented (signaling a distant future time coming and going).
Emphatic Pronouns. Certain pronoun forms render emphatically:
• 1.8, etc: Separate surplus Greek personal pronouns (verb endings incorporate them anyway) render emphatically:
1.8, 9, 17, 2.23, 3.9, 19, 17.7, 21.6 × 2, 22.13, 22.16 × 2, & 18: As surplus, I (egō) as I myself
2.15, 3.17, 4.11 & 7.14: As surplus, you (su) as you yourself
2.6, 28, 3.10, 21 & 22.8: Also I (kagō, eliding kai-egō) as also I myself
• 2.9, 13, 19, 3.1, 2, 8 & 15, 10.9, 14.18: Set irregularly before instead of regularly after its noun, the possessive of you (sou) as your own/very/ selfsame
• 2.13: Repeating after both Witness and trustworthy, the possessive of me (mou) as my own trustworthy Witness
• 3.8: Sandwiched between two terms, the possessive of you (sou) doubly and emphatically as in front of you your own Door
• 12.11, 14.10, 17, 18.6, 7, 19.15 × 2, 21.3 × 2 & 7: The special pronoun phrase and he/it (kai autos) as he himself[23]
• 5.5, 6.1, 7.13, 8.13, 13.3, 15.7, 17.1, 18.21, 19.17 & 21.9: Before the elders, an eagle, its heads, the four Living-Beings, the seven Angels, mighty Angel, and Angel), one or one of (eis) as a certain.
Opening vowels. Greek words opening with a vowel breathe the vowel either smoothly or roughly as an h-sound. Today the opening vowel has pointing to show the absence or presence of the h-sound. But because AD 95 Greek had no pointing, at least two Revelation words render doubly:
4.1, etc: HN can be breathed smoothly as ēn (’HN) to mean that or breathed roughly as hēn (‘HN) to mean it was, which allows three double translations:
4.1: The first voice that I had heard¼was speaking
10.8: That voice that I had heard¼was speaking again, and
14.2: This sound that I heard was like harpists.
20.8, etc: Likewise WN can be breathed smoothly as ōn (’WN) to mean being or breathed roughly as hōn (‘WN) to mean of whom. But their (autōn) in the same verse makes of whom redundant, leaving WN to read as just being.
Puns and Word-Plays (in bold) pepper the Revelation pie of John:
1.1 & 6: Deixai (show) with doxa (glory) as show glory
1.16: Distomatos (two-edged) with stoma (mouth)
2.2–3 × 2: Kopos (tireless labor) with kopian (tired)
2.2–3 × 2: Bastasai (stand) with ebastasas (stood firm)
2.14: Bal- in bal–aam (people swallower), bal–aak (blood–lapper), and bal–ein (set)
2.17, also 13.18: Psēphos (stone) with psēphizō (figure-out or decipher), from Greeks tossing stones to make decisions
3.10: Etērēsas (preserve) with teirēsō (preserve from)
11.2: Exōthen (out) with exōthen (outside)
11.2: Aulēn (courtyard) with autēn (it)
12.4: Estēken (stood) with tekein (give birth). After all, standing is the natural way of giving birth!
12.6 & 14: Echei (where) with ekei (there)
13.8: Hou (anyone whose) with ou (not)
14.20: Chalinōn (bridles) with chiliōn (thousand)
18.14: Lipara (splendid) with lampra (sparkling)
20.2–3: Deō puns as bound down and bound to
22.14: PLUNONTESTASSTOLASAUTŌN, word-plays wonderfully with POIOUNTESTASENTOLASAUTOU, as already seen.
Accumulating images are descriptions that recur with steadily changing details that advance their meanings:[24]
1.4, etc.: ‘THE-IS’, ‘THE-WAS’, and ‘THE‑IS‑COMING’ (1.4, 8, & 4.8) shrinks down to ‘THE-IS’ and ‘THE-WAS’ (11.17 & 16.5)
1.14, etc.: His eyes like a flame of fire (1.14 & 2.18) focuses down to his eyes a flame of fire (19.12)
1.16, etc.: Into the eras (1.16) grows into the eras of the eras (1.18, 4.9, 10, 5.13, 7.12, 10.6, 11.15, 14.11, 15.7, 19.3, 20.10 & 22.5)
4.4, etc.: Gold crowns (4.4) lose luster as what looked like crowns apparently of gold (9.7)
5.3, etc.: Nobody in the sky, on the earth, or under the earth expands (5.3) into all creatures in the sky, on the earth, under the earth—also on the ocean (5.13)
5.5, etc.: The root of a beloved David (5.5) grows into the root and the shoot of a beloved David (22.16)
5.12, etc.: Honor, glory, and praise (5.12) expands into the praise, the honor, the glory, now the power (5. 13)
8.7–9, etc.: Trumpets, fire, blood, earth and creatures in the sea (8.7–9) transforms into pitchers, a sore, blood, sea, and every living soul in the sea (16.2–3)
16.2, etc.: One sore (16.2) spreads out as many sores (16.11).
Last-First (Hysteron-Proteron) Grammar is a Greek quirk that lists more important results before less important causes, reversing events that English lists from cause to result chronologically. Thus last-first Greek says she got wet and it rained rather than it rained and she got wet—putting she got wet, the more important result, before it rained, the less important cause. Results are, after all, more important than causes. Last-first Greek has a soul-mate in Korean gesturing forward showing the visible and therefore known past, and backward showing the out-of-sight and therefore unknown future!
Translating last-first Greek is tricky. For example, v. 5.2’s who is worthy to open the short scroll and break its seven seals can render in several awkward ways. It may be left in clumsy first-last order as above. It may finesse into a version like who is worthy to open the short scroll, also its seven seals? Or it may reluctantly reverse as who is worthy to break the short scroll and open its seals? The four occurrences that translate best reversed are:
3.3: Have attained and heard reversed to heard and have attained
3.19: I myself rebuke and train all those I love reversed to I myself train and rebuke all those I love
5.11: Hundreds of millions and millions reversed to millions and hundreds of millions
6.2: To conquer and in order to conquer reversed to in order to conquer and to conquer.
Restrictive Clauses. Blurring distinctions between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses, the brevity of Revelation favors restrictive clauses. For example, v. 1.12’s restrictive clause this voice that was speaking with me works better in its context than the non-restrictive clause this voice, which was speaking with me.

Definite article the (ho) nuances operate in various ways:
• The may be emphatic
1.2, etc.: Since Revelation lacks demonstrative pronouns like houtos, the (ho) often translates as this/that/who/which[25]
1.3, 5.13, 10.6 × 3; & 1.1–2, 1.19 × 3: Alone, the is supplied with nouns like visions, things, and folk
20.12, 21.8 & 21.17: Ho meaning not just the but also the neut. nom. and acc. form of that lets it translate as the one that
• Before the first mention of a noun the unexpected presence of the makes it strangely familiar, as with v. 1.1’s The Angel and v. 1.4’s The Seven-Churches
• Before an already familiar noun the unexpected absence of the means that it interprets as something new, as with
1.1: An unveiling of, by, and about Jesus Christ as new (the unveiling would mean the familiar Gospel of Jesus)[26]
1.20: Seven-Churches (whose second mention in this verse lacks the) as new congregations of Faiths
7:5–8, 21.12: Sons of Israel as new spiritual heirs
14.6: Eternal good news as a new gospel (lacking the this single time in the entire New Testament)
14.7: An ocean and sources of waters as new spiritual truth and teachings
14. 11: Eras of eras (lacking the this single time) as a new Cycle
14. 13: Lord as any Messenger of God (including Jesus)
19.18, also 11.18, 13.16 & 19.5: Humble and important folk as newly so
20.1: Angel as a new Messenger (but this may be a titular Angel, as when a playwright cites an actor by role or a child talks about its mother in the third person as Mother.[27]
Demonstrative Pronouns like houtos for this/that/who/which that appear so rarely in Revelation render emphatically in various ways:
2.24, 9.18, 11.10, 16.9, 17.16, 18.14–15, 20.14, 22.10 & 18–19 × 4: The adjectival this/that/who/which (houtos) is supplied with same, very, own, or self
1.19 × 3, 7.13–14, 11.4 & 6, 14.4 × 3, 16.5, 17.13, 20.3, 21.7, 22.8 × 2, 16 & 20: Alone this/that/who/which (houtos) is supplied with nouns like vision(s), folk, men, thousands, things, rulers, ones, and years
1.19, 4.1 × 2, 7.9, 9.12, 15.5, 18.1 & 19.1 & 20.3: The special after these things (meta tauta, signaling major textual breaks) is supplied with visions
1.7, 2.24, 17.12 & 20.4; 1.12, 9.4, 11.8, 12.13 & 19.2: The compound demonstrative pronoun hostis conjoins hos and tis, each itself also meaning this/that/who/which. In addition, the masc. plu. hoi-tines and fem. sing. hē-tis forms in Revelation have a hoi or hē part that are also forms of the. So hoitines and hētis render in compound form as those who or those that
13.10, 18, 14.12 & 17.9: The special idiomatic demonstrative pronoun This indeed! (Hōde!) is routinely emphatic anyway.
Supplied Terms. The brevity of Revelation calls for supplying
1.2: Visions to osa in all the visions
1.3, 10.6 × 3: Things to a lone ta in the things
1.6: Be in to him be the glory
1.19: Visions to a lone ha in the visions that
2.5, 19, 26, 3.8, 14.13: Good in good deeds
4.4: A repeat I saw understood before oddly accusative-case 24 elders
5.7: The short scroll, in he has taken the short scroll
6.9, 8.3 × 2, 8.5, & 9.13, 14.18 & 16.7: Sacrificial- to Sacrificial-Altar (thusiasterion), and Incense- to Gold Incense-Altar (thusiasterion to chrusoun)
6.11: Were in as also they were
9.8: Fangs in their teeth were like lions’ fangs
10.4: Things to a lone ha in whatever things
11.8: Strewn across in corpse strewn across
13.1: The dragon for it in the dragon stood firm
13.3: A repeat I saw before oddly accusative-case one of its heads
16.15: Evil in evil spirit
16.7: It in they deserve it
16.11: Bad in bad deeds
18.12–13: Merchandise twice more before subset genitive-case nouns
20.3, also 7.1: Years in after these years
20.4: A repeat I saw before oddly accusative-case souls
20.10: Are in where also that beast and false-prophet are
21.6: Visions in these visions have come to be
21.26: The gates continuing as a subject in the gates shall draw
22.2–3: The city for it in the main-square of the city
22.2–3: This city for it in within this city
22.2–3: Will be in his name will be on their foreheads.
Another Angel, a special term in the following verses, calls for one or more prior Angels to refer to, such as
7.2: the four Angels in v. 7.1
8.3: the four Angels in v. 8.2
10.1: seemingly the prior mighty Angel in v. 5.2
14.6, 8, & 9 (three occurrences): seemingly v. 14.1’s Ram as an Angel too
14.15, 17 & 18 (three occurrences): seemingly v. 14.14’s Son of Man as an Angel too.

[1] 666, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Má’idih-i-Ásmání 2.82, translated by Badi Daemi

[2] Louw & Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

[3] Louw & Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament; Aune 53A. 96

[4] Aune 52A 255

[5] Louw & Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament,,; also Aune, 52A 359

[6] Exod. 19.6

[7] Louw & Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament &

[8] Barclay Newman, Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament 202

[9] Aune, 52B 786 & 52C 965–66

[10] Aune, 52B 844

[11] Barclay Newman, Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament 127

[12] Aune, 52B 876–78

[13] Aune, 52C 1174–75

[14] Aune, 52C 1178–79

[15] Prof. Arthur Eidelman 2005, personal communication, Jerusalem

[16] Aune, 52C 1239.21d

[17] Aune, 52B 654, Note 7.c-c

[18] Aune, 52B 858.16a–a

[19] Aune, 52A 216, 219

[20] Aune, 52B 858.16a–a

[21] Aune, 52A cxcii

[22] Aune, 52A clxxxiv

[23] Aune, 52B.833

[24] Thompson 43–45

[25] Barclay Newman, Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament 123

[26] Aune, 52A clxiii–clxvi