Friday, August 25, 2006
PLAINER WORDS … SLEEPING CHRISTIANS AWAKE!
“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” (Eph. 5:13-14) NIV.
We believe it is high time for Christians to face the facts of Scripture. The next MAJOR PROPHETIC EPISODE to take place is “His Appearing and His Kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1). Evangelical Christians of all stripes, and this includes dispensationalists, have clung to the false claim that the 2nd Coming of Christ is the next event on the Biblical calendar. O sleeper, arise, and Christ shall give you light.
The word, “appearing,” is from the Greek word “epiphaneia.” The Holy Spirit searched the words of man and selected “epiphaneia” to describe the event that will end the Dispensation of the Mystery. Now, if that is the word the Spirit of Truth chose to use in Holy Writ to explain to us how the “Age of Grace” is to end, then we should acknowledge it. When this present dispensation ends, we, the members of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head, will enter into our inheritance and glory. The idea of His “Epiphaneia” (His Appearing) should be forefront in our hearts and minds. Why? Because, if we LOVE HIS APPEARING (EPIPHANEIA), the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will give us, along with Paul, “a crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8) on the Day of His Epiphany.
There is not an English word equivalent to the Greek word—“Epiphaneia.” The Greeks believed in their “mythological” gods. The other day we counted one-hundred-six of their gods, by name, as they were listed on a website. The Greeks believed the gods to be active in the affairs of men. The Greeks believed that the gods would, at certain times, “miraculously” come down from heaven to help them; they called this intervention an “EPIPHANEIA.” This word is translated as “APPEARING” in our Bible.
The Apostle Paul solemnly warned us that in the “last days” of the Dispensation of the Mystery, “perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1). The world will be supernaturally delivered from the perilous, fierce, and dangerous times by the Appearing” (“Epiphaneia”) of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Not by His 2nd Coming, this comes approximately 700 years after His “Epiphaneia.”
Our English word, “Epiphany,” comes from the Greek, “Epiphaneia.”
The rescue of the world from the “perilous times” ushers in the “Kingdom of God.” The Lord Jesus Christ will then reign over the earth from Heaven’s Throne for hundreds of years [perhaps, as many as seven-hundred years].
It will be after the long duration of the Pre-Parousia Kingdom of God that the faithful in the world will begin to look for, and anticipate, the PROMISED COMING of Christ. This Coming is the “Parousia” of Christ. The “Parousia” is the word used for the 2nd Coming of Christ. He comes to earth to be present on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and to rule and reign for one-thousand years.
Various lexicons and dictionaries have the following to say about the word, “epiphaneia:” it 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 their behalf, they termed the 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.”
In this light, a number of “Epiphanies” took place during the Book of Acts. Notice the Divine intervention in Acts 5:19-20, “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them [the apostles] forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.”
Then, there was the Divine intervention in Acts 9 when the Lord Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road which resulted in his conversion or illumination. This was truly an extraordinary Epiphany.
Consider another Epiphany where we read in Acts 14:8-18 that Barnabas and Paul were in
Lystra. There was a man, who was a cripple from birth, listening to Paul testify. Paul noticed the man and commanded him: “Stand upright on thy feet.” The crippled man “leaped and walked” (v.10). When all of the people saw what Paul had done, “they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycanonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men” (v.11). It was an Epiphany (Epiphaneia) to those who witnessed the event because they imagined that the gods had favorably intervened on their behalf. In fact, they named Barnabas, “Jupiter,” and Paul, “Mercury.” Then, they set about to offer sacrifices to show their devotion to Barnabas and Paul.
Christian “sleepers” are comfortable believing that the FAR OFF “Parousia” of Christ is the next prophecy to be fulfilled. Will the sleepers’ folly “be manifest unto all men,” as was the folly of Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:7)? I’m afraid so!
The Christian world is certainly not expecting a sudden and dramatic intervention by Jesus Christ Who will deliver the world from its corruption, delusion, and deception.
“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 Tim. 4:1).
This brings us (the Church, Which is His Body) into our inheritance and signals the inauguration of the Kingdom of God as indicated by Ephesians 5:5.
Believers will be delivered from suffering persecution at the hands of evil men and seducers who shall grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 3:13). The Epiphany will be a sudden, dramatic, and colossal liberation of mankind, as well as, creation (Rom. 8:22).
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious Appearing (Epiphaneia) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13).
The following cannot be stated often enough. It must be repeated over-and-over-again. The Dispensation of the Mystery ends when Jesus Christ suddenly and spectacularly intervenes in a blaze of glory on behalf of mankind; this is the Epiphany ─ the one we live looking for. It ushers in the Kingdom of God. This blazing forth is the unveiling of Christ Jesus (this is not His 2nd Coming). This event can happen at any moment; no prophecy needs to be fulfilled. It will come suddenly, dramatically, and God will make it plain to every human being upon earth, tribesmen in the jungle, professors and students of the great universities, and Hindus and Muslims exactly Who Jesus Christ is, and what He is, in the estimation of God, the Father. This is the knowledge which God will force upon every man; so-much-so that it becomes standard knowledge for mankind.
The Epiphany, Christ’s favorable intervention, results in everyone, the living and the dead, confessing that Jesus Christ is the Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11, Rom. 14:19, Isa. 45:23). It is the signal for the Church, which is His Body to officially convene. We, as members of His High Calling, will have our vile bodies fashioned like unto His glorious body. With this transformation, we will assume our appointed stations of exalted service in the majestic Dynasty of Christ Jesus as He begins to govern the world from His Heavenly Throne.
“Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Eph. 5:14-15).
The wise walk differentiating between the Epiphany and the Parousia. Let’s be wise walkers, not foolish sleepers!
Tom L. Ballinger
From Plainer Words
Sleeping Christians Awake
Posted in: 2006
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 29, 2008 - 5:42:42 AM
Feb 29, 2008 - 5:42:42 AM
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