Stephen Carlson wrote:I've always assumed that it is a reference to the writer's future, as many other translations take it. I don't know what justifies the NIV's rendering. How would that work?
There is no doubt that ἅ μέλλει
or τὰ μέλλοντα
would generally refer to future
realities for the NT writers. For example, Paul uses the phrase τὴν μέλλουσαν δόξαν
in Romans 8:18 to refer to the future
glory of believers.
In this specific case, however, he is writing about Old Testament customs that were intended (according to NT writers) to point to the coming of Jesus. The laws about clean and unclean foods, feasts, the new moons, the Sabbath days – he understood all of it as pointing to the coming of Jesus, and since the arrival of Jesus all of that is just a shadow, since Jesus himself is the reality.
The question is, though, whether τῶν μελλόντων
is referring to Jesus and the things associated with his coming – as it seems to me in this specific context. Can you (or anyone else) see any reason why this could or should not be the way that we understand this phrase?
I would understand it as future from the vantage point of the establishing of the laws, since they are the things pointing to the future (to Jesus). That's how the entire New Testament brings this teaching out.
Thanks for jumping in.
Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel