From Plainer Words


Posted in: 2007
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 26, 2008 - 3:20:46 PM

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing (Epiphaneia) and His kingdom (Basileia)” (2 Timothy 4:1).

The Quick and the Dead

This passage of Scripture concerning a future judgment baffles students and teachers alike! The passage is either ignored, or belittled. The Scofield Reference Bible and Chafer’s Systematic Theology fall into the former category while those who associate it with the rapture, or His coming, are in the latter category. Those in the latter category should be embarrassed by this verse because it speaks clearly of a universal judgment; whereas, there is no mention of a universal judgment associated with the rapture, or the 2nd Coming.

Christ, the Righteous Judge, will judge all of the living, world-wide. The “wrath of God” will not be demonstrated, not even upon the wicked. The purpose of this will determine continuance, or exclusion, from the Kingdom of God. Following the judgment of the living, He will judge all of the dead. The total life of everyone who has ever lived and died will be reviewed. Amazing! The Righteous Judge (2 Timothy 4:8) will determine who, among the dead from Adam onward, should be raised from the dead to begin life anew on a renewed earth and enjoy the new life under the Government of God. Please note, they are not raised from the dead and, THEN JUDGED; otherwise this would also be a judgment of the living. They will be judged to determine if they warrant to be resurrected and live as citizens under God’s Government.

The Lord Jesus Christ “shall judge the quick (to wit, the living) and the dead.” Let’s say it again; the very pertinent fact is; Christ doesn’t raise the dead to judge them. He judges them while they are in the state of death. Then, the dead who are deemed “worthy” will be raised according to the Divine plan—“every man in his own order” (1 Corinthians 15:23).

At His Appearing and His Kingdom

“Appearing” is the word, Epiphaneia. It comes from a family of words, such as, phaino; to shine, phaneroo; to manifest, and epiphano; to shine upon. The word, “Kingdom,” is Basileia which denotes sovereignty, royal power, and dominion.

EPIPHANEIA is a Greek word of matchless significance in understanding Dispensational Truth. There is not an equivalent word in the English language. It has been translated as “appearing.” This translation doesn’t do justice to the meaning and significance of the word. Epiphaneia has become the English word, Epiphany. Epiphany is used of the Christian celebration of Christ’s Epiphany to the “wise men,” and as a word meaning, “a divine manifestation, or a manifestation of a deity.” But, the definition of “Epiphany” doesn’t really convey the marvelous truth contained in the Greek word, Epiphaneia.

Epiphaneia is a noun, meaning literally, “a shining forth: it was used of the appearance of a god to men,” Vine’s Expository Dictionary. It was used, in Greek, to identify a spectacular event. Thayer’s Lexicon says, epiphaneia “often used by the Greeks of a glorious manifestation of the gods, and especially of their advent to help…in 2 Macc. Of signal deeds and events betokening the presence and power of God as helper.”

Another writer has said, concerning the word, Epiphaneia, that when the Greeks believed they witnessed a miraculous intervention by the gods on their behalf, they called the event an Epiphaneia. Rotherham says Epiphaneia is, “the forthshining of the gods intervening favorably on behalf of man.” This event was referred to as an Epiphaneia. This word was constantly employed to set forth gracious appearances of “higher powers” in the aid of men.

There is a future event which brings to an end the Dispensation of the Grace of God. We believe it to be God’s Main Event. This event should not be scoffed at, or relegated to the limbo. However, many students and teachers do! The Lord Jesus Christ intervenes on behalf of the world and brings to a sudden end the “perilous times” of 2 Timothy 3:1-17.

This event is Christ’s EPIPHANEIA and His Kingdom (Basileia) as revealed in 2 Timothy 4:1. Jesus Christ makes a sudden world-intervention, to wit, His Epiphaneia and His Basileia. The words, “Epiphaneia” and “Basileia,” are so related here that one defines the other. This event is in no way associated with the one of the rapture, or with the 2nd Coming (the Parousia). The two events are separated by a long period of time—the Kingdom of God. No prophecy has to be fulfilled in order for this event ─ the Epiphaneia, to take place.

Some well-meaning Bible students, who find it difficult to place the Epiphaneia, suggest that it is probably the first stage of the 2nd Coming.

Ah, that makes three stages all connected; the Epiphaneia, the Rapture, and the Parousia. This is just another feeble attempt to DENY the pre-millennial Kingdom of God.

Without warning, without any signs, without any destruction, without any shout, without any trump of God, without any movement from heaven toward earth—Christ Jesus speaks from heaven, and the shining forth of His Kingdom reveals His Glory. All things in the earth are set right, and He begins to judge the quick and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1).

The establishment of the Kingdom of God is the hope of mankind.

April 19, 2007

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