SPECIAL TOPIC: MARANATHA

This is an Aramaic phrase which reflects an early Palestinian church's theological liturgical affirmation of (1) Jesus' deity (Psalm 110) or (2) Jesus' Second Coming (Acts 3:19-21). Its meaning depends on how one divides the word:

1. "Our Lord, come" (i.e., marana-tha) is the meaning of a similar imperitival phrase in Rev. 22:20.  Therefore, most translations assume that meaning in 1 Cor. 16:22.  If so, then it would be a prayer for Jesus' return.

2. "Our Lord has come" (i.e., maran-atha) would be an Aramaic perfect. This is the translation that Chrysostom (a.d. 345-407) preferred, which speaks of Jesus' Incarnation.

3. "Our Lord is coming" would reflect a Hebraic prophetic perfect, which is used by many to assume a motive for Christian service.  The Second Coming has always been an encouragement for believers in every age.

4. The Didache (written in the late first or second century) 10:6, uses this same phrase in the context of the Lord's Supper where Jesus' current presence and future eschatological coming are both emphasized in prayers.

 

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