Original Research

Ἐπιφάνεια as wederkomswoord in die Nuwe Testament

H.P. Malan van Rhyn
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 1 | a2705 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i1.2705 | © 2021 H.P. Malan van Rhyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 November 2020 | Published: 20 May 2021

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H.P. Malan van Rhyn, Departement Opvoedkundige Studies en Bybelkunde, Akademie Reformatoriese Studies en Opleiding (AROS), Pretoria, South Africa

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Ἐπιφάνεια as a word denoting the second coming in the New Testament. In the New Testament, several Greek words are used to denote the second coming of Christ. None of these words can be translated as ‘second coming’. One of these words is ἐπιφάνεια. This article departed from the viewpoint that God has a telos [purpose] for revealing that Jesus is coming again. Questions arise whether these words, denoting the second coming, can be treated as exact synonyms and whether there are differences in nuance in the meaning of these words. This article is a step in the process to answer these questions. A word study of the concept ἐπιφάνεια was done and it was investigated how this term for the second coming of Christ is used in the New Testament. Furthermore, the telos of the revelation regarding the ἐπιφάνεια of Christ in the relevant chapters of Scripture was determined. This is a question that is seldom addressed. For the word study, diachronic and synchronic methods were used. The development of ἐπιφάνεια into a suitable word for denoting the second coming was thus tracked. For the determination of the use of ἐπιφάνεια in the New Testament, as well as for the determination of the telos of the revelation regarding the second coming, exegesis was conducted in the revelation-historical tradition. The result was an original definition of the meaning of ἐπιφάνεια as used in various contexts: It is the sudden and unexpected, visible appearance and intervention of Jesus Christ as God at his second coming in magnificent splendour to judge, to annihilate his enemies and to redeem the faithful. The main telos for the revelation of the ἐπιφάνεια of Christ was determined as comforting and encouraging the saints, including ministers of the Word. A theological definition of the meaning of ἐπιφάνεια provides a handy tool for exegetes. Foreknowledge of the telos of the revelation regarding the ἐπιφάνεια as comfort and encouragement for the saints, can guide exegetes in their endeavours.

Contribution: By means of exegesis in the revelation-historical tradition, an original, theological definition of the meaning of ἐπιφάνεια was provided and the telos of the revelation regarding ἐπιφάνεια was determined as comfort and encouragement for the saints.


ἐπιφάνεια; epiphaneia; parousia; παρουσία; second coming.


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