THE FUTURE INDICATIVE
58. THE PREDICTIVE FUTURE. The Future Indicative is most frequently used to affirm that an action is to take place in future time. Since it does not mark the distinction between action in progress and action conceived of indefinitely without reference to its progress, it may be either aoristic or progressive. HA. 843; G. 1250, 6; G.MT. 63, 65; Br. 163.
59. THE AORISTIC FUTURE conceives of an action simply as an event, and affirms that it will take place in future time. It may be indefinite, inceptive, or resultative. As indefinite it may be momentary, comprehensive, or collective. Cf. 35, 39.1 Cor. 15:51, 52; pa,ntej ouv koimhqhso,meqa( pa,ntej de. avllaghso,meqa( evn avto,mw|( evn r`iph/| ovfqalmou/, we shall not all sleep [indefinite comprehensive]; or, we shall not all fall asleep [inceptive], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye [indefinite momentary].
John 14:26; evkei/noj u`ma/j dida,xei pa,nta kai. u`pomnh,sei u`ma/j pa,nta a] ei=pon u`mi/n evgw,, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said unto you [indefinite collective].Luke 1:33; kai. basileu,sei evpi. to.n oi=kon VIakw.b eivj tou.j aivw/naj, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever [indefinite comprehensive].60.THE PROGRESSIVE FUTURE affirms that an action will be in progress in future time. HA. 843; G. 1250, 6.
Luke 16:31; ouvdV eva,n tij evk nekrw/n avnasth/| peisqh,sontai, neither will they be persuaded if one rise from the dead [resultative].Phil. 1:18;kai. evn tou,tw| cai,rwÅ avlla. kai. carh,somai, and therein I rejoice, yea, and will [continue to] rejoice. See also Rom. 6:2; Phil. 1:6; Rev. 9:6.61. It may be doubted whether any of the distinctions indicated by the subdivisions of the Predictive Future are justified from the point of view of pure grammar. It is probable, rather, that the tense in all these cases makes precisely the same affirmation respecting the event, viz, that it will take place; and that it is the context only that conveys the distinctions referred to. These distinctions, however, are real distinctions either of fact or of thought, and such, moreover, that the writer must in most cases have had them in mind when speaking of the facts. From the exegetical point of view, therefore, the distinctions are both justified and necessary, since they represent differences of thought in the mind of the writer to be interpreted. The terms employed above are convenient terms to represent these distinctions of thought, and it is to the interpreter a matter of secondary importance whether the distinction in question is by his writer immediately connected with the tense of the verb.
62. Since the Aoristic Future is less definite respecting progress than the Progressive Future, the latter predicting the act as continuing, the former making no assertion, it is evident that any instance of the Predictive Future not clearly progressive must be accounted as aoristic. If the writer did not conceive the act or event as continuing, he left it in his own mind and for the reader undefined as respects progress, hence aoristic. Whether he left it thus undefined in his mind must of course be determined, if at all, from the context, there being no difference of form between a Progressive and an Aoristic Future. It should be noticed that it is not enough to show that an act will be in fact continued, in order to count the verb which predicts it a Progressive Future; it must appear that the writer thought of it as continuing. Every Future form is therefore by presumption aoristic. It can be accounted progressive only on evidence that the writer thought of the act as continued.
REM. There is one exception to this principle. In verbs of effort a Progressive Future is naturally like other Progressive forms, a conative tense. An Aoristic Future of such a verb is like the Aorist, a resultative tense. Since the latter is the larger meaning, the context must give the evidence of this larger meaning, and such evidence failing, it cannot be considered established that the verb is resultative. The verb in John 12:32 furnishes an interesting and important illustration. Since the verb denotes effort, the Future will naturally be accounted conative if it is judged to be progressive, and resultative if it is taken as aoristic. In the latter case the meaning will be, I will by my attraction bring all men to me. In the former case the words will mean, I will exert on all men an attractive influence.
63. To decide whether a given Aoristic Future merely predicts the fact, or refers to the inception of the action, or has reference to it as a thing accomplished, must again be determined by the context or the meaning of the word. The distinction between the indefinite and the resultative senses will often be very difficult to make, and indeed the difference of thought will be but slight. Here also it results from the nature of the distinction between the indefinite use and the other two, inceptive and resultative, that any instance of the Aoristic Future not clearly inceptive or resultative must be accounted indefinite. In other words, if the writer did not define the action to his own mind as inceptive or resultative, he left it indefinite, a mere fact.
64. The distinction between momentary, comprehensive, and collective is in respect to the Future tense, as in respect to the Aorist, a distinction which primarily has reference to the facts referred to and only secondarily to the writer's conception of the facts. There may easily occur instances which will defy classification at this point. A writer may predict an event not only without at the moment thinking whether it is to be a single deed or a series of deeds, a momentary or an extended action, but even without knowing. Thus the sentence, He will destroy his enemies, may be uttered by one who has confidence that the person referred to will in some way destroy his enemies, without at all knowing whether he will destroy them one by one, or all at once, and whether by some long-continued process, or by one exterminating blow. In such cases the verb can only be accounted as an Aoristic Future, incapable of further classification.
65. From a different point of view from that of the above classification, the instances of the Predictive Future might be classified as (a) assertive, and (b) promissory. The distinction between the assertion that an event will take place and the promise that it shall take place is difficult to make, requiring delicate discrimination, but is often important for purposes of interpretation. It is in general not indicated in Greek, and its representation in English is complicated by the varied uses of the auxiliary verbs shall and will. In general it may be said that in principal clauses shall is in the first person simply assertive, will is promissory; in the second and third person will is assertive, shall is promissory, imperative, or solemnly predictive.
R..V. employs shall almost constantly in the second and third person, in most cases probably intending it as solemnly predictive.Matt. 10:42;avmh.n le,gw u`mi/n( ouv mh. avpole,sh| to.n misqo.n auvtou/, verily I say unto you, he shall by no means lose his reward.66. A Predictive Future is sometimes made emphatically negative by the use of the negative ouv mh,. Matt. 16:22; 26:35; Mark 14:31 (Tisch. Subjunctive); cf. 172.
Mark 11:31; VEa.n ei;pwmen( VEx ouvranou/( evrei/, if we say, From heaven, he will say.
Luke 22:61; Pri.n avle,ktora fwnh/sai sh,meron avparnh,sh| me tri,j, before the cock crow this day, thou shalt deny me thrice. See also Matt. 11:28, 29; 12:31; John 16:7, 13.
67.The Imperative Future. The second person of the Future Indicative is often used as an Imperative. HA. 844; G. 1265.Jas. 2:8;VAgaph,seij to.n plhsi,on sou w`j seauto,n, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.REM. 1. This idiom as it occurs in the New Testament shows clearly the influence of the Septuagint. It occurs most frequently in prohibitions, its negative being, as also commonly in classical Greek, not mh, but ouv. G.MT. 69, 70; B. p. 257; WM. pp. 396f.; WT. pp. 315 f.
REM 2.In Matt. 15:6 the verb timh,sei has the negative ouvmh.. Some interpreters take this as a Predictive Future, but the thought requires the Imperative sense, and in view of the frequent use of ouv mh. with the Future in an imperative sense in the Septuagint, and its occasional use in classical Greek, the possibility of it can hardly be denied. WM p. 636f., n. 4; G.MT. 297.
68. One or two probable instances of the Imperative Future in the third person occur, though perhaps no entirely certain case. Matt. 4:4, Ouvk evpV a;rtw| mo,nw| zh,setai o` a;nqrwpoj, is probably to be so regarded, though the Hebrew of the passage quoted (Deut. 8:3) is apparently Gnomic rather than Imperative. On Matt. 15:6, see 67, Rem. 2. See also Matt. 20:26, 27.
69.The Gnomic Future. The Future Indicative may be used to state what will customarily happen when occasion offers.Rom. 5:7;mo,lij ga.r u`pe.r dikai,ou tij avpoqanei/tai, for scarcely for a righteous man will one die. See also Gen. 44:15; Rom. 7:3, crhmati,sei. Observe the Gnomic Presents both before and after.70.The Deliberative Future. The Future Indicative is sometimes used in questions of deliberation, asking not what will happen, but what can or ought to be done. Such questions may be real questions asking information, or rhetorical questions taking the place of a direct assertion. Cf. 169.Luke 22:49;eiv pata,xomen evn macai,rh|, shall we smite with the sword?71. PERIPHRASTIC FORM OF THE FUTURE. A Future tense composed of a Present Participle and the Future of the verb eivmi, is found occasionally in the New Testament. The force is that of a Progressive Future, with the thought of continuance or customariness somewhat emphasized.
John 6:68; Ku,rie( pro.j ti,na avpeleuso,meqa, Lord, to whom shall we go?Luke 5:10;avnqrw,pouj e;sh| zwgrw/n, thou shalt catch men, i.e. shalt be a catcher of men.72.Me,llei with the Infinitive is also used with a force akin to that of the Future Indicative. It is usually employed of an action which one intends to do, or of that which is certain, destined to take place.
Luke 21:24; VIerousalh.m e;stai patoume,nh, Jerusalem shall [continue to] be trodden under foot.Matt. 2:13; me,llei ga.r Hrw,|dhj zhtei/n to. paidi,on tou/ avpole,sai auvto,, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy it.73. By the use of the Imperfect of me,llw with the Infinitive it is affirmed that at a past point of time an action was about to take place or was intended or destined to occur.
Luke 9:44; o` ga.r ui`o.j tou/ avnqrw,pou me,llei paradi,dosqai eivj cei/raj avnqrw,pwn, for the Son of man is to be delivered up into the hands of men. See also Matt. 16:27; 20:22; Acts 5:35; 20:38; Rom. 8:13.John 7:39; tou/to de. ei=pen peri. tou/ pneu,matoj o] e;mellon lamba,nein oi` pisteu,santej eivj auvto,n, but this spake he of the Spirit which they that believed on him were to receive. See also Luke 7:2; John 6:71.