Question: What is meaning of the word Epiphany?
Answer: The word Epiphany is the English translation of the Greek noun epiphaneia, which is derived from the Greek verb epiphaino, meaning to shine brightly, to manifest clearly (Luke 1: 78, 79) (Acts 27: 20) (Titus 2: 11, 12; 3: 4).
(1.) In the sense of an act the word epiphaneia means bright shining or manifestation as to persons, principles or things. These persons may be good or evil; these principles may be true or false; and these things may be good or bad. The manifestation of good principles is implied by the use of epiphaneia as seen in 2 Timothy 1: 9, 10; and the manifestation of bad principles is implied by the use of epiphaneia as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2: 9.
In relation to Jesus’ Second Advent, epiphaneia means God’s and Jesus’ “act of manifesting persons, principles and things, previously hidden or obscure, by the Truth shining with special brightness.” An outstanding example was the Watergate exposures. It is used in this sense of an action in relation to Jesus’ Second Advent in: (2 Thessalonians 2: 8) (2 Timothy 1: 9, 10; 4: 8) (Titus 2: 13).
(2.) The word epiphaneia is also used in the sense of the period in which our Lord makes the pertinent manifestation of persons, principles and things through the Truth shining with special brightness, as the following passages show:
2 Timothy 4: 1 mentions “the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at [during] his appearing [epiphaneia] and his kingdom [basileia].” We know that His Kingdom is not just an activity, but also a period. Since both basileia and epiphaneia are used here in the same way in the same connection, it is apparent that Jesus’ epiphaneia as well as His basileia are periods.
1 Timothy 6: 14, 15: “Keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing [epiphaneia] of our Lord Jesus Christ: which [epiphaneia] in his [its] times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate.” Thus, Jesus’ epiphaneia is here also shown clearly to be a period of time, having “times,” just as a year, a period of time, has times or seasons.
1 Corinthians 4: 5: “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” This passage shows that the epiphaneia is the period of time in which the Lord is to manifest good and bad conduct.
Bro. Russell clearly shows that Jesus’ epiphaneia is a period as well as an activity in the booklet Our Lord’s Return: “By and by, in the Lord’s due time, they [the world] shall know – in the PERIOD [emphasis ours] of the epiphaneia and apokalupsis of the Son of Man. They will be awakened by the great crash of the day of trouble.”