From Plainer Words

The "Epiphaneia" Phenomenon

Posted in: 2008
By Tom L. Ballinger
Apr 23, 2008 - 9:03:57 AM

April 17, 2008
No. 207


According to “Vine’s Expository Dictionary,” “EPIPHANEIA” is the English word, “epiphany, literally meaning ‘a shining forth.’” Thayer’s Lexicon says, on Page 245, “epiphaneia,” as “appearing,” was a word used by the Greeks “of a glorious manifestation of the gods as helpers.” The Holy Spirit selected this Greek word since the Lord Jesus Christ would be manifested as Israel’s Great Helper in Her time of dire need and ends the Great Tribulation. Thayer also mentions that in 2 Maccabees, “epiphaneia” was used signaling the “deeds and events betokening the presence and power of God as a Helper.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:8, the word, “epiphaneia,” is translated as “brightness” in the KJV, the NIV, and the NKJV. It is translated as “appearance” in the NASU and the NAS. It is translated as “appearing” in the RSV and as “manifestation” in the ASV.

The other five times Paul uses the word, “epiphaneia,” it is translated as “appearing:” as in 1 Timothy 6:14, 2 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 4:1, 4-8, and Titus 2:13. Peter even uses the word, in 1 Peter 1:7, as “appearing.”

“Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary” has, as its fourth definition, a very pertinent definition to the English word, “appearing.” It is, “SOMETHING THAT APPEARS—A PHENOMENON.” A “phenomenon” is an event, a marvel, a miracle, or a wonder.

We can, therefore, conclude that “epiphaneia,” as a noun, carries with it the idea that the “appearing” [i.e. a shining forth] will be a “phenomenal event.”

(The 2nd Coming will certainly be a PHENOMENON. It will certainly be all of these, in which the Son of God administers aid to His people—hence, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 will truly be an “EPIPHANEIA.”)

Looking at various lexicons and dictionaries, it has been concluded that “epiphaneia” carries with it the meaning of a “blazing forth for a favorable intervention on behalf of man.” When the Greeks believed that the gods intervened on behalf of man, they termed the phenomenon, or event as an “Epiphaneia;” hence, an “Appearing.” One lexicon says, “the help-bringing appearing of gods.” Another says, “a miraculous interposition of God in behalf of His people.” Another states, “…this grand word was constantly employed to set forth these gracious appearances of higher powers in aid of men.”


The Spirit of Truth deliberately chose a word from the Greek language to express the phenomenon which brings to a close, the Dispensation of the Mystery. It is the same noun He used in 2 Thessalonians 2:8—the PHENOMENON—the “EPIPHANEIA.”
As we have stated, “Epiphaneia” is a noun. A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, quality, or action. In the Bible, the use of this word, as a noun, is the name of a thing (i.e. an event), or an action, to wit, the “Appearing.” As such, it will be a phenomenon which, divinely, helps mankind. It will quash the “perilous times” of the “last days” and puts an end to “evil men and seducers,” waxing worse and worse, as described in 2 Timothy 3. The word, “perilous,” depicts the last days of the present Dispensation—“perilous” times will be FIERCE, or VIOLENT times. The Bible doesn’t provide us with the details of these coming “times.” We can rest assured that the times will be full of grave risk, perhaps financial; full of danger, perhaps to life and limb; hazardous times, perhaps full of misfortune. It will be from these TIMES that the Lord Jesus Christ delivers the world from the PERIL of those days.

We will consider the Apostle Paul’s use of the word, “Epiphaneia,” which is translated as “Appearing.”

“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the APPEARING [EPIPHANEIA] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 6:14).

Timothy was to hold fast to his “good profession [of faith] …” (1 Tim. 6:12), until the phenomenon—i.e. the “Epiphaniea.” The “Epiphaneia” ends the Dispensation of the Grace of God. This phenomenon becomes the inauguration of the Pre-“Parousia” Kingdom of God.

“But is now made manifest [phaneroo] by the APPEARING [EPIPHANEIA] of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).

We, as members of the Church Which is His Body, were saved and called with a holy calling by Christ; not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9). His Own purpose and grace concerning our calling was “made manifest [phaneroo]” to us by our understanding of the coming Epiphaneia [Appearing] of our Savior Jesus Christ.

“I charge thee therefore before God, and [kai] the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and [kai] the dead at His APPEARING [EPIPHANEIA] and His Kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).


Your attention needs to be directed to the word, “and,” as it appears between two phrases in the verse quoted above. The Greek word for “and” is “KAI.” “KAI” is used 5002 times in the NT. About 165 times, it is translated as “even” which has the meaning of, “that is to say,” or “in other words.”

“And” is most commonly used as a conjunction—connecting words, clauses, or statements, such as, “Bill picked up his bat and ball.” Or, “Bill and Jack played catch.” This is referred to as the conjunctive use of the word, “and.”

Many Bible students, when studying grammar in the Greek language, learn that the Greeks could use the word, “kai,” to mean “even.” This meant that the Greeks could use “kai” to attach, or append a word, or phrase for the purpose of defining, explaining, or interpreting that which has been said. This is called the “Explicative (or Explanatory) Principle.” All serious students of God’s Word need to recognize this principle of interpretation when studying the New Testament. The “Explicative Principle” is a favorite literary, or grammatical device of the Apostle Paul.

A relevant example can be seen in 1 Corinthians 15:24:

“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even [kai] the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”

According to “The Interlinear Bible – New Testament,” it reads: “Theo kai Patria.” This, translated literally, would read, “the God and Father.” But, if we understood it to be “the God and Father,” it would make God to be one being and the Father to be another being. However, the translators correctly employed the “Kai Explicative Principle” and translated “kai” as “even.” This correct recognition of the explanatory use of the word, “kai,” renders the KJV “God, EVEN, the Father.” This literary principle means the noun, which follows God, further explains Who God is—EVEN THE FATHER.

“Even,” in English, has one of its many meanings as being, “indeed.” The Bible phrase could have been correctly translated, “God, INDEED the Father.”

It might be good to look at some other verses in which “kai” is translated as “even.”

“That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even [kai} the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:6).

“Blessed be God, even [kai] the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor.1:3).

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even [kai] our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thess. 3:13).

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and [kai] God, even [kai] our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16).

Here, we note that the translators did not acknowledge the “Kai Explicative Principle” in its first occurrence but did so in its second occurrence. If we acknowledge this explanatory principle in the first instance, it would read: “now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, even God, even the Father.” Thereby, further explaining who Jesus Christ is—Who, indeed, is God; yes, even the Father.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even [kai] as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even [kai] denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).

In this passage, we see that the “Kai Principle,” also, uses a dependent clause as an appositive; “there were false prophets among the people, even [kai] as there shall be false teachers among you.” It can, also, be clearly seen that “damnable heresies” is explained as “denying the Lord that bought them.” If the translators had used “and,” here, instead of “even,” it could cause us to think that there were two things—damnable heresies and denying the Lord.

An “APPOSITIVE” is a word, or a phrase functioning as a noun that is placed after another noun, or pronoun in order to rename, or clarify it. As we stated earlier, the use of appositives is a favorite literary devise employed by the Apostle Paul. Simply stated, when two nouns of the same case are used in a sentence, and “kai” (and) connects them, the second noun is an appositive—it renames, or clarifies the first noun.

“Looking for that blessed hope, and [kai] the glorious appearing of the great God and [kai] our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13).

We see that the Greek KAI is used twice in Titus 2:13. In the first instance, “the glorious appearing,” which is the appositive, renames, or clarifies the “blessed hope.” In the second instance, “Jesus Christ” is the appositive which clarifies Who the Great God is. What we have just written needs to be indelibly written in the fleshy tables of your heart. Not that the wording is profound, but the truth stated is!

We have the following rule regarding an appositive in English Grammar; “Whatever its position is, in a sentence, a noun can be followed by an appositive. An appositive is a word, or a phrase functioning as a noun which is placed after another noun, or pronoun IN ORDER TO RENAME OR CLARIFY IT.” (“The Everyday English Handbook,” by Leonard Rosen, Page 64).

                            Noun                                     Appositive
Looking for that “blessed hope” – and [kai] “the glorious appearing”
             Noun                                     Appositive
Of the “Great God” – and [kai] our “Saviour Jesus Christ”

The appositive, our “Saviour Jesus Christ,” renames, or clarifies Who the “Great God” is. Jesus Christ is the Great God.

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and [kai] from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph.1:2).

The “Lord Jesus Christ” is an appositive, thus clarifying Who God our Father is. Yes, it clarifies Who “God our Father” is. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father is the Lord Jesus Christ. This makes some folks angry, especially those who have been indoctrinated in the so-called Doctrine of the Trinity.


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

Here, in 2 Timothy 4:1, we find Paul charging Timothy “before God, and [kai] the Lord Jesus Christ.” Here, “God” is the Noun and “Jesus Christ” is the Appositive—thus clarifying who God is. The grammatical construction demands that these two names refer to the same person. He would not solemnly charge Timothy before two masters since a man cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24, Luke 16:13). Now, we come to the second Noun and Appositive in 2 Timothy 4:1—so “hold your horses.” The two nouns are “Appearing” and “Kingdom.”

“At His Appearing and [kai] His Kingdom” (2 Tim 4:1).

In the clause just mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:1, the Noun is His “Appearing,” and the Appositive is His “Kingdom.” The appositive renames, or clarifies the Noun, His “Appearing,” as that of His “KINGDOM.”

The “Epiphaneia” of Christ is so intimately joined together with His Kingdom by means of the grammatical use of the appositive, that it can be said, “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” The following is the Plainer Words’ version of Second Timothy 4:1:

“I charge thee before God, that is to say, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge [adjudicate] the living and the dead at the Appearing of His Kingdom.”

This is when we, the Church over Which Christ Jesus is the Head, will appear with Him in glory; but it will be the glory of His Kingdom (Col. 3:4).

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