2009-06-28

Who sees the Son of Man coming, according to Mark’s gospel?

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by Neil Godfrey

Mark 13:25-26:

and the stars of the heaven shall be falling, and the powers that are in the heavens shall be shaken. And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in clouds with much power and glory

Often noncanonical (and sometimes canonical) Jewish literature of the Second Temple period equates stars of heaven with angels. Powers of heaven are certainly angelic powers.

So is Mark here saying that it is these angels who will see the Son of Man coming etc?

What does the Greek in this case suggest re the ones who see?

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4 thoughts on “Who sees the Son of Man coming, according to Mark’s gospel?”

  1. The Greek has the future middle OPSONTAI here. It could be translated as “and then one will see …”. IMO it should mean “all will see”.

    Compare for verse 25:
    Jes 34:4
    and verse 26:
    Dan 7:13

  2. The Dan 7:13 context is what prompts me to wonder if Mark is saying that it is the angels themselves who will see the Son of Man “coming”. The main thrust of my query is whether the text of Mark is saying that it is the angels and powers that will see the Son of Man coming. Is Mark being (typically) vague/ambiguous once again here?

  3. Thanks, but is there any reason to believe he is not addressing the stars and powers (or whatever or whoever they represent) as the ones who will be the ones who are “seeing”?

    I am wondering about possibilities of theologies like that of 1 Enoch and some aspects of canonical ideas such as in Daniel having influenced him, with Stars representing kings and angels … Does the Greek make such an interpretation (that it is the stars and powers that see the Son of Man having come, not “everybody”) possible?

  4. The Greek text has ἐληλυθότα, the perfect participle (“having come”) rather than ἐρχόμενον (“coming”). Whereas Mt and Lk point to something that will happen in the future, Mk points to a fait accompli. I think he expects everybody to see it and that it will be very soon.

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