A Study on Right Division Chapter 9

Posted in: Current Issue
By Tom L. Ballinger
Jan 15, 2019 - 12:28:19 AM


Issue # 434

August 2018







There are certain things that, yet, lie in the future which pertain to the end of this present dispensation, and they must not be confused with that which is, yet, future but belongs to the time of another dispensation.


(1) The Blessed Hope of the Mystery—The Blessed Hope of the Mystery has not, yet, taken place. It remains unfulfilled at this writing. It will be the event that will close the Dispensation of the Grace of God. The event is called, in Scripture, “the Appearing.” It will, also, usher in the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God. The APPEARING is a very technical word in the Greek language. The Greek word is “Epiphaneia,” and it is translated as “Appearing.” 


“The Blessed Hope” is the hope of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. It is intimately connected, or associated with “the Appearing.” The Church, which is His Body will enter into its inheritance when the Glory of God Appears. This magnificent event has been eclipsed by Christendom; confusing it with the Second Coming of Christ. The Second Coming which Christians talk about is derived from the Greek word, “Parousia.” Failure of God’s people to “rightly divide” the APPEARING (the Epiphaneia) of Christ from His COMING (Parousia) has resulted in a gross misunderstanding of the future. By failing to distinguish between the two has caused “a total eclipse” of the Hope of the Mystery. The APPEARING (Epiphaneia) is a future event which ends the Age of Grace and commences with the Age of the Kingdom. Both Divine events are future, but they are not the same. The APPEARING begins the Kingdom of God, and the COMING of Christ is its consummation.


The HOPE of the Church, which is His Body, is the APPEARING (Epiphaneia).The HOPE of the citizens of the Kingdom of God will be the COMING (Parousia). Students who are careless in their study of the Bible have insisted that the “APPEARING” (Epiphaneia) is just another name for the Second Coming of Christ (Parousia). They have made no distinction between the two. If the Holy Spirit HAS made the distinction between the “Epiphaneia” and the “Parousia,” the student would be derelict not to do so. 


Wrong division of the Word of God claims that two hopes are the same. Forgive the comparison, but this claim is as spurious as saying that a “home run in baseball” is the same as a “touchdown in football.”


A careful and thoughtful study of the word, “APPEARING,” reveals that it is to take place without any movement whatsoever, on the part of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is now seated, enthroned, and highly exalted at God’s Own Right Hand. For the “APPEARING” to take place He does not make a single move. No prophecy has to be fulfilled. He simply speaks, and “His APPEARING” and “His KINGDOM” is manifested (Heb. 12:25-26). Take notice, please, of the verses associated with the Blessed event.


1 Timothy 6:14 

“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the APPEARING [Epiphaneia] of our Lord Jesus Christ:”


2 Timothy 1:10

“But is now made manifest 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 Timothy 4:1

“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;”


2 Timothy 4:8  

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his APPEARING [Epiphaneia].”


Titus 2:13

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious APPEARING [Epiphaneia] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”


If this were literally translated it would read:


“Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” 




The Apostle Paul, the great revelator of the Dispensation of the Mystery, clearly makes known the event that “triggers” the Blessed Hope,” thereby ending the Present Dispensation.


 “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 Timothy 4:1).


 “Judge” as rendered in 2 Timothy 4:1 is “krino.” It means to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially), to determine, to select, to choose, to form an opinion, or to condemn. The underlying idea of the use of “krino” is to form an opinion of who will be worthy, whether dead or alive, to enter the new world governed by the Lord Jesus Christ.


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.


Jesus Christ, the Righteous Judge, at His Appearing, will judge all of the living people, world-wide. The “wrath of God” will not be demonstrated, not, even, upon the wicked. The purpose of this judgment 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 universal 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 “Basileiawhich denotes sovereignty, royal power, and dominion. From this we get the Biblical word—“Kingdom.” Its usage specifies a government.


“EPIPHANEIA” (Strong’s Number 2015) 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 the Greek language, to identify a spectacular eventThayer’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 anEpiphaneia.”  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 will intervene 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 (to wit, the Epiphaneia) is in no way associated with the rapture, or with the 2nd Coming (the Parousia). The two events are separated by a long period of time—the Pre-Millennial the Kingdom of God. And, then the one-thousand year Presence , i.e., the “Parousia” of Jesus Christ on the earth. No prophecy has to be fulfilled in order the “Epiphaneia, to take place.


We deem it appropriate to remind the reader of the 6th precept we should follow in Bible study:

Truth which belongs to one part of the future (the “Epiphaneia”must not be read into another part of the future (the “Parousia”).


The APPEARING (the inauguration of the Pre-Millennial Kingdom) is the BLESSED HOPE of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. The SECOND COMING will be consummation of the Pre-Millennial Kingdom, i.e., THE DAY OF CHRIST. There are many, many Christians who ignore the dispensational dividing line of Acts 28:28. They ignore it, either because of spiritual blindness, or because of unwillingness to change their “theology;” consequently, they confuse the two hopes and refer to them as one. Let’s not be ashamed workmen by failing a fundamental test of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” In this present dispensation there is but ONE HOPE (Ephesians 4:4).


The ONE HOPE, we have, will become a reality when the Lord Jesus Christ begins to judge the living and the dead at His APPEARING and HIS KINGDOM (2 Timothy 4:1).


(2) The “Parousia:” The 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ—Within the last twenty years, a Hellenistic Greek word, “Parousia,” has found its way into English Dictionaries. It was not transliterated, but rather, brought whole from the Greek into the English language because it is a technical word. This word is translated, “Coming,” in the NT. It refers to the Second Coming of Christ. “Parousia” was a Greek word used twenty-four times in the Greek NT. What is very significant is that the word is only used four times in the Gospels. It first shows up in Matthew 24:3 and is used three other times in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. This fact speaks volumes concerning the lack of preeminence our Lord Jesus Christ gave to His “Parousia” (2nd Coming) during His ministry as “a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God” (Romans 15:8).


This should indicate that the “Parousia” was not the burning issue proclaimed by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. The burden of His ministry, confirming the promises made to the fathers, was the restoration of the Kingdom. The Lord Jesus said over-and-over, again, that “the Kingdom was AT HAND.” He never preached, nor did John the Baptist, that the “Parousia” (2nd Coming) was AT HAND. And that’s not all; the Apostle Paul never taught that the “Parousia” was imminent, or at hand. We have hesitated to make the following statement until we were comfortable with the conclusion we had reached. We think we can do so without reservations. “Christian teachers, scholars, and theologians have given the Second Coming of Christ a more prominent role than the Scriptures have.” Admittedly, this is a hard saying; who can receive it? The overwhelming theme of the Bible is the coming of God’s Rule from heaven over the earth—the coming of the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God.


Parousia” was used to denote a personal presence of someone, when he was present, because of who he was, and what he did in view of his position.  Hence, it is a technical word.  That is to say; embodied in the word, “parousia,” are the ideas that someone is personally present to perform a duty that is his because of who he is, or what position he holds. In fact, during NT times, “parousia”was the Greek technical word used to describe the arrival of a visiting king, or ruler, to another nation.


The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says “parousia” is employed to denote the ceremonial arrival of rulers.  It points out that many times when kings would make an official visit to a nation, parousia coins were struck in celebration of the rulers’ official visit.  Even parousia taxes were levied.  The ISBE lists all of the references of parousia in the NT and says, “The word is so frequent that it has been taken over into English.”


In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words, he says, “In a papyrus letter a lady speaks of the necessity of her parousia in a place in order to attend to matters relating to her property there.” The lady had to be personally present in order to attend to property matters that only she could perform; hence, the necessity for her parousia.


Another example of a parousia could be, if a friend, who is an air conditioning repairman, comes to your home for the purpose of discussing the Scripture, his presence in your home is not aparousia.  But, the next day, your air conditioning unit fails, and you call him to come and fix the unit. This “coming” is a parousia because, as a repairman, he is officially present to fulfill his position as a repairman.  When the translators translated the Authorized Version, there was no English equivalent to the Greek word, “parousia.”  So, they translated it as “coming.”


However, the word, “coming,” as used in English, only scratches the surface of what lies, latently, profound in the Greek word, parousia.  Since there is no English equivalent, it is now incorporated into the English language.


The concordance will show you the twenty-four times the word “parousia” is used in the Bible. It is suggested that you look them up. Why? Because, you must study each verse, by itself, in order to gather the Biblical usage of the word. Then the meaning becomes clear to you, since you mined it for yourself.


So, then, what is in question? It is simply not His coming, but rather, His “Parousia.” That is to be Personally present and to perform the duties of His office, defeating the forces of anti-christ thus ending the Great Tribulation which is the consummation of the Day of Christ. This occurrence of His Parousia usherers in His Personal Presence upon the earth which begins the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will last for a thousand years.


The “Parousia” of our Lord Jesus Christ will be sudden, and dramatic, and public. Those who are alive and believing, at the time, will be caught up to meet Him in the air and will accompany Him back to earth to be present with Him during His 1,000 year “Parousia.” The “Parousia” references His arrival, as well as His 1,000 year presence on earth (i.e., the Millennium) to perform only which He can do.


The “Parousia” of the Lord Jesus Christ is the event that brings Him back to this earth, so He will be personally present to perform all of His official responsibilities associated with His millennial reign.                                           


The “Parousia” of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be distinguished from His “Epiphaneia.” The two events are probably separated by hundreds of years [my calculation is at least 700 years]. The Day of Christ fills the interim between the blazing forth of the “Epiphaneia” and the “Parousia.” 


In conclusion, we should be reminded of the examples given for the sixth rule for rightly dividing the Word of Truth; TRUTH WHICH BELONGS TO ONE PART OF THE FUTURE [the EPIPHANEIA] MUST NOT BE READ INTO ANOTHER PART OF THE FUTURE [the PAROUSIA]. These two future events must be distinguished from one another by “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).


We will not carry these studies on Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth beyond the establishment the 1000 year Reign of Jesus Christ as He rules the Universe from Jerusalem. Enough ground work has been presented for the serious student to continue on if he chooses to do so.


─The End─


Copyright © Thomas L. Ballinger 2018

First Printing 1975

Major Revision 2011