Word Study #167 — Reveal, Revelation

Here, we will consider the last word group in this series (beginning with #165), and try to pull the topic together into a coherent picture.
Actually, there are two more words, but chrematizo, which usually applies to business dealings (L/S) and only rarely to divine directives (either Christian or pagan), is translated “reveal” only once, of Simeon in the temple (Lk.2:26), although the “warnings” of Mt.2:12, 2:22; Ac.10:22, and Heb.11:7 would certainly fall into that category, as would the instructions given to Moses (Heb.8:5), since they are overtly attributed to God.

We are primarily concerned with apokalupto, and its related noun, apokalupsis. Comprised of the prefix / preposition apo (away from), and the verb kalupto (to hide or conceal), it applies to the “uncovering” of information that was previously hidden – regardless of whether it had been deliberately concealed or was simply not obvious. L/S lists “to uncover, disclose, or reveal; to unmask”, and for the noun, “uncovering, unmasking, revelation”. Trench refutes Jerome’s claim that the word “only exists in ‘sacred Greek’”, by noting its use by both Plato and Demosthenes. He suggests that apokalupsis goes beyond merely “seeing” as described in earlier studies (especially horama and optasia), to include explanation, understanding, and instructions, as well. We saw a bit of this sense in phaneroo (#166) also.

In the New Testament, there is not a single instance where this “revealing” is done by anyone but God, unlike some of the previous words considered, nor is the content of the information, or the direction, sourced anywhere else. It may be delivered through another agency – “the Son” (Mt.11:27, Lk.10:22), “fire” (I Cor.3:13), “apostles and prophets” (Eph.3:5) or anyone else in the brotherhood (I Cor.14:6, 26, 30), but the source is unquestionably beyond any of those vehicles. This is probably most overtly stated in John’s introduction to his account of the Revelation, where he declares, “(This is) Jesus Christ’s revelation, which God gave him to show to his slaves [servants] ….” (Rv.1:1). He then describes the “chain reaction” by which the message is to be disseminated.

Except for Paul’s discussion in II Thes.2:3-12, where he is reminding his readers of the malevolent powers that deceive those who have refused (v.10) the truth, reassuring the beleaguered faithful that falsehood will not ultimately triumph (see also a similar phrase in Rom.1:18), the occurrences of apokalupto and apokalupsis are all concerned with instruction in faithfulness and/or encouragement regarding its final outcome.

There are directions given for specific situations – needed correction (Rom.2:5, I Cor.3:13, Phil.3:15, and the messages to the churches in Rv.2 and 3), personal assignments (Lk.2:32, Gal.1:12, 2:2; Eph.3:3), and the accurate understanding and communication of the message (Mt.16:17, Rom.1:17, Gal.3:23, Eph.3:5).
But best of all, there are multiple assurances of “the glory to be revealed” at Jesus’ promised coming, (Lk.17:30, Rom.8:18,19; 16:26; II Thes.1:7, I Pet.1:5,7,13; 4:13, 5:1), and the promised provision of all that is necessary to maintain faithfulness until that eagerly anticipated consummation (Mt.10:26, 11:25-27; Lk.10:22, 12:2; II Cor.12:1,7; Eph.1:17). Please notice that the few references to the destructive aspect of “revealed judgment” (Rom.1:18, II Thes.2:3-8) are addressed, not to “outsiders” who have been identified as “targets” for “conversion”, but to the faithful, as encouragement, that it is not the “bad guys” who ultimately win!

The over-arching purpose of “revelation” is preparing the faithful to share in the triumph of their King!
Whether that is accomplished through “vision” (natural or supernatural) that transcends our blindness (or myopia), or “revelation” in some other form – the mention of both optasias and apokalupseis in II Cor.12:1 implies that there must be a difference), or instructions or encouragement delivered by a “messenger” (natural or supernatural – see #140), the goal, and the end result for faithful disciples, is the same.

Like Moses (Heb.11:27), may we “hang in there” in faithfulness, regardless of adverse circumstances, “as one who is seeing (horon) the invisible” , and
“pursue peace with everyone, and total devotion to God, without which nobody will see (opsetai) the Lord” (Heb.12:14), because
“No one knows … who the Father is, except the Son, and the one(s) to whom the Son plans to reveal (apokalupsai) him” (Lk.10:22).

As our brother John, in his old age, wrote to the folks he had loved, taught, and served for many years, “Dear people, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet been revealed (ephanerothe) what we will be. We do know that when he is revealed, (phanerothe), we will be like him, because we will see him (opsometha) as he is!” (I Jn.3:2).

Thanks be to God!


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