What is the difference between εἶτα and ἔπειτα and μετέπειτα?

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Bill Ross
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Joined: August 12th, 2012, 6:26 pm

What is the difference between εἶτα and ἔπειτα and μετέπειτα?

Post by Bill Ross »

A common view of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is that Paul believed that he would be "caught up together with" the "dead" at the last trumpet. I was struck by the fact that Paul used ἔπειτα for "then" and thought it might have a bearing on whether or not he had a simultaneous event or possibly one that occurs after a period of time.

Well it turns out that there are three cognates that seem to be handled as synonyms. Since I'm focusing on Paul's usage here I was wondering if the prefixes would supply some nuance that might indicate whether or not Paul expected the rising dead to "sweep up" himself and the rest of the living saints or whether he expected them to rise as a separate group with himself (and others) following suit at perhaps a distant time.

Or, to put it another way (and this could be found in the grammar of the larger context) is the last trumpet when Paul expected to go or just the dead?:

* the trumpet blows the the dead rise, then later Paul and the others left behind rise, or:
* the trumpet blows and the dead rise and Paul and the other living are swept up together

(trumpet and dead rise) + (later Paul and remnant rise)
or (trumpet and dead rise and Paul and remnant rise "like Jacob grabbing Esau's heel")

Also, are the ones "remaining" (περιλειπόμενοι) the ones not asleep? Or the ones "left behind"?

Are the answers in the word choices? The prefixes? Or the wider grammar? Or is it ambivalent?
mGNT 1 Thess 4:17 ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα
What I lack in youth I make up for in immaturity.
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