The NT Greek word epiphany means the “visible appearance of the Lord Jesus on earth at the end” of this world (New Int’l Dict. of N.T. Theology, Vol. 3, Colin Brown, p. 319).
For the early believers, the word epiphany was comprised of TWO basic elements:
- Christ’s appearance
- On earth
Epiphany can refer to nothing other than Christ’s glorious, visible, post-Tribulation coming when he plants his feet on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:1) and sets up his righteous reign in Jerusalem.
Let's look at how this word is used in the New Testament:
II Thessalonians 2:8
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
Here Paul writes that the Lord shall consume the Antichrist with the brightness (epiphany) of his coming (parousia).
Paul combines these two words to show that at the time of Christ’s parousia (coming—arrival to be present with), it is his epiphany (appearance on the earth) that destroys the Antichrist.
Since, according to Paul, the epiphany is AT the parousia, and since the Rapture is at the parousia, then the time of the destruction of the Antichrist is also the time of the Rapture!
According to Paul, the reign of the Antichrist does not begin at the parousia, it ends at the parousia.
I Timothy 6:14
“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing [epiphany] of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Paul exhorts Timothy to maintain his personal testimony until the epiphany—the glorious return of Christ! This is the exact same thing that we saw in I Thess. 3:13 in regards to the parousia.
The parousia is AT the epiphany.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing [epiphany] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
This is just what we have seen before: the blessed hope (the Resurrection—Acts 26:6-8), the Rapture, the parousia, the epiphany, and the destruction of the Antichrist are ALL at the same time!
If saints are snatched out seven years prior to the epiphany, how can they still be looking for it?
II 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 [epiphany].”
Why should believers love Christ’s epiphany if they are to be Raptured at his parousia seven years earlier?
Clearly, “that day” in context refers to the day of Christ’s appearing. Paul will receive his crown at that day, not seven years before that day.
(We mentioned in an earlier post that the Lord brings his rewards with him when he returns in glory. See Matthew 16:27)
II Timothy 4:1-2
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing [epiphany] and his kingdom; Preach the word;…”
Here we see another reference to believers being judged at the epiphany.
We also see that Timothy is exhorted to keep on preaching until Christ’s visible appearance in glory. This makes sense because the Great Commission of Matthew 28 is to be in effect until "the end" of this world.
Clearly believers will be alive and preaching until the day of the epiphany (the glorious appearance of Christ). And, on that day, the brightness of Christ's glory will destroy the Antichrist!
The Rapture is AT the Revelation.