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mitted that, grammatically, either construction is possible. I need only refer to Winer, Stuart, Buttmann, T. S. Green, and S. G. Green among the grammarians, and to Alford, Ellicott, Wace, and other recent commentators. † It will be most convenient to assume, provisionally, that this view is corrrect; and to consider first the exegetical grounds for preferring one construction to the other. But as some still think that the omission of the article, though not decisive of the question, affords a presumption in favor of the construction which makes toù ueráhou Osoù a designation of Christ, a few remarks upon this point will be made in Note A, at the end of this
may be enough to say here, that 0£où has already an attributive, so that the mind naturally rests for a moment upon του μεγάλου θεού as a subject by itself ; and that the addition of 'Ιησού Χριστού tο σωτήρος ημών distinguishes the person so clearly from toð reydou 0800 according to Paul's constant use of language, that there was no need of the article for that purpose.
The question presented derives additional interest from the fact that, in the recent Revision of the English translation of the New Testament, the English Company have adopted in the text the first of the constructions mentioned above, placing the other in the margin; while the American Company, by a large majority, preferred to reverse these positions.
I will first examine the arguments of Bishop Ellicott for the construction which makes toð verálov 0an appellation of Christ. They are as follows :
“(a) èreçávela is a term specially and peculiarly applied to the Son, and never to the Father." The facts are these. In one passage (2 Tim. i. 10) the word êregávela is applied to Christ's first advent; in four to his second advent (2 Thess. ii. 8; 1 Tim. vi. 14; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8); and as èreçáveca denotes a visible manifestation, it may be thought that an êreçávela of God, the Father, “whom no man hath seen nor can see,” could not be spoken of.
But this argument is founded on a misstatement of the question. The expression here is not “the appearing of the great God," but “the appearing of the glory of the great God,” which is a very different thing. When our Saviour himself had said, “The Son of man † See Winer, Gram. & 19, 5, Anm. I, p. 123, 7te Aufl
. (p. 130 Thayer's trans., p. 162 Moulton); Stuart, Bibl. Repos. April, 1834, vol. iv. p. 322 f.; A. Buttmann, Gram., & 125, 14-17, pp. 97-100, Thayer's trans.; T. S. Green, Gram. of the . Ì. Dialect (1842), pp. 205–219, or new ed. (1862), pp. 67-75; S. G. Green, Handbook to the Gram. of the Greek Test., p. 216; and Alford on Tit. ii. 13. Alford has some good remarks on the passage, but I find no sufficient proof of his statement that owsia had become in the N. T. “a quasi proper name."
shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels” (Matt. xvi. 27, comp. Mark viii. 38), or as Luke expresses it, “in his own glory, and the glory of the Father, and of the holy angels” (ch. ix. 26), can we doubt that Paul, who had probably often heard Luke's report of these words, might speak of the appearing of the glory" of the Father, as well as of Christ, at the second advent?*
This view is confirmed by the representations of the second advent given elsewhere in the New Testament, and particularly by 1 Tim. vi. 14-16. The future êreçávela of Christ was not conceived of by Paul as independent of God, the Father, any more than his first èreçávela or advent, but as one "which in his own time the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable, whom no man hath seen nor can see, shall show” (oeisel). The reference is to the joint manifestation of the glory of God and of Christ at the time when, to use the language of the writer to the Hebrews (i. 6), “he again bringeth (or shall have brought] the first-begotten into the world, and saith, Let all the angels of God pay him homage.” That God and Christ should be associated in the references to the second advent, that God should be represented as displaying his power and glory at the êriyÓVeld of Christ, accords with the account given elsewhere of the accompanying events. The dead are to be raised at the second advent, a glorious display of divine power, even as Christ is said to have been “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Rom. vi. 4). But it is expressly declared by Paul that “as Jesus died and rose again, even so shall God, through Jesus, bring with him them that have fallen asleep” (1 Thess. iv. 14; comp. Phil. iii. 21); and again, “God both raised the Lord, and will raise up us by his power" (1 Cor. vi. 14). There is to be a general judgment at the second advent; but Paul tells us that “God hath appointed a day
* Even if the false assumption on which the argument is founded were correct, that is, if the expression here used were tiu ĉALÇÓVELUV TOÙ μεγάλου Θεού και σωτήρος ημών Ιησού Χριστού, the argument would have little or no weight. The fact that eriçóvela is used four times of Christ in relation to the second advent, would be very far from proving that it might not be so used of God, the Father, also. Abundant examples may be adduced from Jewish writers to show that any extraordinary display of divine power, whether exercised directly and known only by its effects, or through an intermediate visible agent, as an angel, might be called an Alpávela, an “appearing" or "manifestation" of God. The word is used in the same way in heathen literature to denote any supposed divine interposition in human affairs, whether accompanied by a visible appearance of the particular deity concerned, or not. See Note B.
in which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he hath ordained” (Acts xvii. 31 ), or, as it is elsewhere expressed, “the day in which he will judge the secrets of men, through Jesus Christ" (Rom. ii. 16, comp. ver. 5, 6); and that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom. xiv. 10). So the day referred to is not only called “the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. i. 8; v. 5; 2 Cor. i. 14), or “the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. i. 6), or “the day of Christ” (Phil. i. 10; ii. 16), but “the day of God” (2 Pet. iii. 12).
Here, as throughout the economy of salvation, there is εις θεός, ο πατήρ, εξ ου τα πάντα, και εις κύριος, Ιησούς Χριστός, δι' ου τα πάντα (1 Cor. viii. 6).
It appears to me, then, that Bishop Ellicott's “palmary argument,' as he calls it, derives all its apparent force from a misstatement of the question; and when we consider the express language of Christ respecting his appearing in the glory of his Father; the express statement of Paul that this erudve.o. of Christ is one which God, the Father, will show (1 Tim. vi. 15), and the corresponding statement of the writer to the Hebrews (i. 6, “when he again bringeth," etc.); when we consider that in the concomitants of the second advent, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of men, in which the glory of Christ will be displayed, he is everywhere represented as acting, not independently of God, the Father, but in union with him, as his agent, so that “the Father is glorified in the Son," can we find the slightest difficulty in supposing that Paul here describes the second advent as an “appearing of the glory of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ” ?
(6) Bishop Ellicott's second argument is, “that the immediate context so specially relates to our Lord.”—He can only refer to ver. 14, “who gave himself for us,” etc. The argument rests on the assumption, that when a writer speaks of two persons, A and B, there is something strange or unnatural in adding a predicate of B alone. If it is not instantly clear that such an assumption contradicts the most familiar facts of language, one may compare the mention of God and Christ together in Gal. i. 3, 4, and i Tim. ii. 5, 6, and the predicate that in each case follows the mention of the latter. The passage in Galatians reads: “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might deliver us,” etc.
(c) The third point is, “that the following mention of Christ's giving Himself up for us, of His abasement, does fairly account for St. Paul's ascription of a title, otherwise unusual, that specially and antithetically marks His glory."-"Otherwise unusual" / Does Bishop Ellicott mean that “the great God” is simply an “unusual" title of Christ in the New Testament? But this is not an argument, but only an answer to an objection, which we shall consider by and by. It is obvious that what is said in ver. 14 can in itself afford no proof or presumption that Paul in what precedes has called Christ
the great God.” He uses similar language in many passages (e. g. those just cited under 6 from Gal. i. 3, 4 and 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6) in which Christ is clearly distinguished from God.
(d) The fourth argument is, " that period would seem uncalled for if applied to the Father.” It seems to me, on the contrary, to have a solemn impressiveness, suitable to the grandeur of the event referred to. It condenses into one word what is more fully expressed by the accumulation of high titles applied to God in connection with the same subject in 1 Tim. vi. 14-16, suggesting that the event is one in which the power and majesty of God will be conspicuously displayed. The expression “the great God” does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but it is not uncommon in the Old Testament and later Jewish writings as a designation of Jehovah. See Note C.
(e) Bishop Ellicott's last argument is, that "apparently two of the Ante-Nicene (Clem. Alexand. Protrept. 7 [ed. Pott. ] and Hippolytus, quoted by Words.) and the great bulk of post-Nicene writers concurred in this interpretation."--As to this, I would say that Clement of Alexandria does not cite the passage in proof of the deity of Christ, and there is nothing to show that he adopted the construction which refers the του μεγάλου θεού to him. * Hippolytus (De Antichristo c. 67), in an allusion to the passage, uses the expression επιφάνειας του θεού και σωτήρος ημών of Christ, which may seem to indicate that he adopted the construction just mentioned. But it is to be observed that he omits the ris dózis, and the reálov, and the
* Winstanley well remarks, in his valuable essay on the use of the Greek article in the New Testament, that " the observation of Whitby that Clem. Alex. quotes this text of St. Paul, when he is asserting the divinity of Christ, if it mean that he quotes it as an argument, or proof, is a mistake. Clemens is all along speaking of a past appearance only, and therefore he begins his quotation with a former verse, ý zopes tui 0an . . . etc., and then proceeds coûtó tot! To agua to zaerós [l'omit the quotation), etc., so that his authority inclines the other way: for he has not appealed to this text, though he had it before him, when he was expressly asserting the divinity of Christ, as 0£ús, and 6 0£o- júpus, but not as 6 évas 0:05.” (Vindication of certain Passages in the Common English Version of the N. T., p. 35 f., Amer. ed., Cambridge, 1819.)
The supposition of Wordsworth and Wace that Ignatius (Eph. c. 1) refers to this passage has, so far as I can see, no foundation.
"Ιησού Χριστού after σωτήρος ημών, so that it is not certain that if he had quoted the passage fully, instead of merely borrowing some of its language, he would have applied all the terms to one subject. My principal reason for doubt is, that he has nowhere in his writings spoken of Christ as ο μέγας θεός, with or without ημών, and that it would hardly have been consistent with his theology to do this, holding so strongly as he did the doctrine of the subordination of the Son.
It is true that many writers of the fourth century and later apply the passage to Christ. At that period, and earlier, when Osós had become a common appellation of Christ, and especially when he was very often called “our God” or “our God and Saviour,” the construction of Tit. ii. 13 which refers the Osoő to him would seem the most natural. But the New Testament use of language is widely different; and on that account a construction which would seem most natural in the fourth century, might not even suggest itself to a reader of the first century. That the orthodox Fathers should give to an ambiguous passage the construction which suited their theology and the use of language in their time, was almost a matter of course, and furnishes no evidence that their resolution of the ambiguity is the true one.
The cases are so numerous in which the Fathers, under the influence of a dogmatic bias, have done extreme violence to very plain language, that we can attach no weight to their preference in the case of a construction really ambiguous, like the present. For a notable example of such violence, see 2 Cor. iv. 4, dy os ó Ocos TOV αιώνος τούτου ετύφλωσεν τα νοήματα των απίστων, where, through fear of Gnosticism or Manichæism, Irenæus (Har. iii. 7. § 1; comp. iv. 29 (al. 48). $ 2), Tertullian (Adv. Marc. v. 11), Adamantius or Pseudo-Origen (De recta in Deum fide, sect. ii. Orig. Opp. i. 832), Chrysostom, Theodoret, Ecumenius, Theophylact, Augustine, Primasius, Sedulius Scotus, Haymo, and others make toð alwvos τούτου depend on απίστων instead of ο θεός,* a construction which we should hardly hesitate to call impossible.
I have now considered all the arguments of Bishop Ellicott, citing them in full in his own language. It seems to me that no one of them has any real weight; and that a consideration of his “palmary
* For many of these writers see Whitby, Diss. de Script. Interp. secundum Patrum Commentarios, p. 275 f. Alford's note on this passage has a number of false references, copied without acknowledgment from Meyer, and ascribes this interpretation (after Meyer) to Origen, who opposes it (Opp. iii. 497, ed. Delarue).