EPIPHANEIA in the NT with reference to Jesus' future return in glory
This short exchange occurred on the JW CARM discussion board early November, 2005.
Initially a poster started the thread with an apparent point that the belief that Jesus will return visibly, in the way most trinitarians/evangelicals believe he will, can be shown by the use of the Greek word EPIPHANEIA. The first post here is reproduced.
After a reply a Robert Frazier steps in and accuses the responder, a JW, of being "incompetent" or "dishonest," "quoted only what [he] could twist into JW doctrine" and that he "conveniently" left something out on purpose.
However, what entails will enable us to see that it was Mr Robert Frazier who was not only incompetent by a mis-handling and mis-understanding of a certain Greek-English Lexicon, the 'BAGD', but apparently did not realise the fallaciousness of the original poster's claim that one can know the very nature of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ by a word in the New Testament! One can't! And so off went Robert Frazier launching himself into a huge strawman argument. But in the process not understanding the lexicon's reference data which is the most significant thing one will see from below.
We create this page(and three others)to show the belligerent nature Robert Frazier has toward Jehovah's Witnesses/the WTB&TS which he has now showed over several years on the above discussion board. He takes great pleasure in the un-christian misrepresenting of Jehovah's Witnesses, their organization, their beliefs, their practices and the New World Translation.This means that one ought to be very very careful when reading anything he says or better still disregard everything he does. More often than not his prejudices gets in the way of any objective, fair argument he proffers so that what he writes is of very little worth if any. Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us: "There are six things that Jehovah does hate; yes, seven are things detestable to his soul: lofty eyes, a false tongue, and hands that are shedding innocent blood, a heart fabricating hurtful schemes, feet that are in a hurry to run to badness, a false witness that launches forth lies, and anyone sending forth contentions among brothers." The following is but one, albiet mild example from Mr Robert V. Frazier :
First post: "In 2Tim.1 : 10 we read!
"But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ..."
"In 1 Tim. 6 : 14 we read!
"That thou keep this commandmend without spot, unrebukable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!!"
"Now the Greek word there is EPHIPANEIA!!(to appear, shinning forth)
"According to Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words this word points to a physical apearance of someone!"
JW replies: I do not think, if this is what Vine claims, that he is wholly correct. BAGD states "..it means a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity..." How? It immediately states"...either in the form of a personal appearence, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known." Please note the second sense which I have italicised. This second sense would then be in accord with the JW understanding of the Christ's PAROUSIA to be invisible but that we will know he is 'present' because of the signs he gave which would be by "some deed of power by which its presence is made known." We believe that the first "deed" or "power" was the hurling of Satan down to the vicinity of the earth which began or was at the beginning of his PAROUSIA.-Rev.12.7. This was a powerful deed. However, the "appearing" of Jesus would be at the end of his PAROUSIA and once again we are told that it will be by a powerful deed.-2 Thessalonians 2.8. The "appearing" of 2 Tim.1.10 would be the first sense of the word and is a reference to Jesus' first appearence on earth as a man of flesh. Jesus is no longer composed of mere flesh but is, like his heavenly father a mighty spirit, invisible to human eyes.
In a consequent post the JW pointed out that one can not just use this word to decide the very nature of the Lord Jesus Christ return by stating: "Visible? But in what way does BAGD say when commenting on the word in 1 Tim.6.14, namely, EPIPHANEIAS? Two ways. Personally or by "by some deed of power by which its presence is made known" As you can see, this second sense would be other than an actual physical personal "appearing." It appears to me you quoted 1 Tim.6.14 because you believed the word translated "appearing" here can only mean an actual physical "appearing." As you can see you were wrong if you intended this. Did you? If not why did you quote the Greek word and the scripture place, 1 Tim.6.14, it occurs? Please explain.
And again a little later, JW: "Vine does not "claim" what you claim he does. He does not say the word EPIPHANEIA denotes only a "physical appearence." That is what you seemingly claim Vine says. He says nothing at all about this, nothing! Vine may believe the scripture refers to one but one can not argue from the Greek word alone, and Vine does not, but one has to go to other places and exegete them to show this, if one can. Can you see now that you are claiming something of Vine which Vine does not claim at all."
And again in the same post, JW: "You quoted 1 Tim.6.14 and the Greek EPHIPANEIA and claimed that Vine says the word points to a "physical appearence." You have been unable to show that is what the word denotes only nor that that is what Vine claims.
No one gets an "invisible coming" or an "invisible presence" from any Greek word! But also one cannot say that any Greek word that refers to Christ's future "appearing" or "presence" indicates it will be visible in the sense you wish to restrict it to, and erroneously! One can only do either by right exegesis. You are then, 'barking up the wrong tree'.
From this we can see that the JW was not doing what the other was doing and that was basing a 'doctrine,' or a belief, about the nature of Jesus Christ's return on a word! Nor does the Jehovah's Witnesses as a body of people either.
At this point, or soon thereafter, in steps Mr Robert Frazier who considers himself to be a competent anti-JW apologist as well as able to hande to some degree the Greek of the NT. As we shall see:
1): Frazier could not even handle the data given in an entry of a particular Greek-English lexicon.
2): Forgets that the JW poster is not trying to base a belief in a certain nature of Christ's return on a word, but the other poster was!
3): Even asks his readers to think that rather than he being wrong a particular Greek work, namely An Analysis of the Greek New Testament (which you will come across a quotation below)was "wrong" instead because it was not "inspired" !
Robert Frazier replies later on in his first post: I think it's high time the readers of this tedious thread, if any have managed to wade through it all, were told that you have quoted BAGD out of context, and ignored what it says about epiphaneia as used in the New Testament about Jesus Christ. It's hard to see how this could be the result of anything other than incompetence or dishonesty, and for your sake, I hope it's the former.
JW replies: Then what of Gordon Fee's quoting(see 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, New International Biblical Commentary, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995 p.155, "additional notes.") where he quotes that exact same part of the entry from BAGD when commenting on the sense of the Greek word EPIPHANEIA at 1 Timothy 6.14? Now, was it "incompetence" or "dishonesty" on his part? Or is there another option? That you are being incompetent here yourself and that rather than I quoting BAGD "out of context"(and of course Fee too!) you have wholly mis-understood BAGD here? Lets hope it is this rather than dishonesty on your part?
Robert Frazier then quotes the entry in the BAGD lexicon of the word EPIPHANEIA:
epiphaneia, as, h
(Pre-Socr.; Polyb. et al.; inscr., LXX, Ep. Arist., Philo,
Joseph.) appearing, appearance; esp. also the splendid
appearance. e.g., of the wealthy city of Babylon (Diod. S. 2,
11, 3). As a relig. t.t. it means a visible manifestation of
a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal
appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is
made known (Dionys. Hal. 2, 68; Diod. S. 1, 25, 3 and 4; 2,
47, 7 ; in 5. 49, 5 ton
theon epiphaneia to help men; Plut., Them. 30, 3; Ael.
Aristid. 48, 45 K.=24 p. 477 D.; Polyaenus 2, 31, 4
Dioskouron ep.; oft. inscr., and in LXX esp. 2 and 3
Macc.; Aristobul. in Euseb., Pr. Ev. 8, 10, 3; Ep. Arist. 264;
Jos., Ant. 1, 255; 2, 339; 3, 310; 9, 60; 18, 75; 286. For
material and lit. s. FPfister, Epiphanie: Pauly-W. Suppl. IV
'24, 277-323; MDibelius, Hdb. exc. on 2 Ti 1: 10; OCasel, D.
Epiphanie im Lichte d. Religionsgesch.: Benedikt. Monatsschr.
4, '22, 13ff; RHerzog, Die Wunderheilungen v. Epidauros '31,
49; BSEaston, Pastoral Epistles '47, 171f; EPax,
epiphaneia '55; DLuhrmann, KGKuhn-Festschr., '71). In
>our lit., except for Papias, only of Christ's appearing on earth.
1. of Jesus' coming in judgment 1 Ti. 6: 14; 2 Ti. 4: 1, 8.
e. t. doxhs Tit 2: 13 (for this combination cf. Dit.,
Or. 763, 19f; Epict. 3, 22, 29). e. ths parousias 2 Th
2: 8 is pleonastic, since both words have the same technical
sense: the appearance of his coming; hmera ths e. the day
of the appearing 2 Cl 12: 1; 17: 4.
2. of Jesus' first appearance on the earth 2 Ti 1: 10 (Diod.
S. 3, 62, 10 the mythographers speak of two appearances of
Dionysius: deuteran epiphaneian tou theou par'
>3. surface (Democr., Aristot.+) exothen Papias 3.M-M.*
Robert Frazier then adds: Whew! That's a lot of alphabet soup to type in. I hope you won't make that necessary again any time soon. I wish I had this in electronic format!
Any particular reason you neglected to mention that the words you so proudly put in italics, and referred to so many times in this thread, were not written about Jesus Christ at all, but rather about the mythological false god Apollo? Did that just slip your mind, or were you hoping nobody would notice?
JW responded: What seems to have "slipped" your mental grasp is that the words in italics are the senses of the word from various Greek authors and the NT uses are no different! Did it "slip" your eyes that BAGD also refers to the LXX and including the books "2 and 3 Macc" for the senses of "As a relig. t.t. it means a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known" as well as Josephus? Did it "slip" your mental grasp that in the books of Maccabees and the LXX the subject is the God of Israel? Has it then slipped your mental grasp that the word by and in itself does not mean solely to refer to a "personal appearence" but also to an "appearance" by "some deed of power by which its presence is made known"? Unless of course you think that the God of Isreal in these places the works use EPIPHANEIA for His "appearing" "appearance" are undertood to mean that God appeared on earth and was seen physically, that the "invisible God"( Col.1.15) did become "visible," that this great and glorious God was actually on the earth and seen by fleshly eyes of men? I think it is "high time" that readers of your post realise how abysmally you have mis-handled and mis-undertood the BAGD entry for EPIPHANEIA!
Robert Frazier went on to write in the same post: Much more significantly, did you also miss these words? "In our lit., except for Papias, ]only of Christ's appearing on earth." BAGD does not not agree with you that the appearing of Jesus the second time will be in a different form or manner than His first appearing. BAGD does not agree that with you that epiphaneia is EVER used in the New Testament about Jesus as it is used in Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Diodorus Siculus about Apollo. BAGD does not agree that with you that Jesus' second coming will be invisible! You also seem to have forgotten (if you ever knew it) that epiphaneia is the abstract noun form of the adjective phaneros, which means "visible", "manifest", with the antonym aphanhs "invisible", "hidden". There is no honest way to get the idea of an invisible "presence" out of a word whose meaning is just the opposite of "invisible"!
Here we see Frazier making several naive, simplistic mistakes. One of which is the word root fallacy(see his last but one sentence)and the other the mistaken notion that the Witnesses derive their belief in an "invisible presence" for Jesus Christ from an actual Greek word! Another mistake he makes is to read what the editors of this lexicon believes is the case with Jesus' EPIPHANEIA and then confuses what they believe with the words meaning! He also has not read carefully enough that which he typed out! The entry in the BAGD gives other references/sources for the two senses it offers some of which are to do with what Greek speaking Jewish worshipers of the God of Israel wrote namely in the "LXX esp. 2 and 3 Macc.; Aristobul. in Euseb., Pr. Ev. 8, 10, 3; Ep. Arist. 264; Jos., Ant. 1, 255; 2, 339; 3, 310; 9, 60; 18, 75; 286" to quote the lexicon itself.
But he blithely carries on:
Frazier carries on: Now, I can certainly agree that you have every right to disagree with or disbelieve what the BAGD has to say on the New Testament usage of epiphaneia. I do not agree that you have any right to misquote and misrepresent that information as you have so blatantly done here. I think you should apologize for doing so.
Here we see Frazier claiming the JW misquotes and misrepresents the entry in the BAGD lexicon. However, what will be made clear, if it is not been shown already, that it is Frazier who has incompetently misunderstood and mishandled this entry!!
Frazier: You cannot go ransacking dictionary and lexicon entries, hunting for some crumbs from the table of pagan writers, hoping to use them to overturn the meaning of words as used in the Bible. Good lexicons such as BAGD and Kittel give the historical background of how words were used before the New Testament was written and how they came to be used afterward not to trump or refute New Testament usage, but to show where the New Testament usage stands in the flow of the history of the Greek language.
Yet as we might have seen already Paul uses it, the word EPIPHANEIA, in the exact same way as did other Greek writers before him and contemporary with him. And does he think those references he seems to have missed or thought had no reference to the two senses given near the entry's beginning, namely "As a relig. t.t. it means a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known" were not also the sense of those it references namely: "and in LXX esp. 2 and 3 Macc.; Aristobul. in Euseb., Pr. Ev. 8, 10, 3; Ep. Arist. 264; Jos., Ant. 1, 255; 2, 339; 3, 310; 9, 60; 18, 75; 286" which are cetainly not what he describes the others as "the table of pagan writers" but are reference to Jewish sources? If he thinks this this is a big mistake and one which seriously puts a question mark against his ability to handle properly the lexicon's data of references. The JW responding to him and others in this discussion has used the BAGD correctly. Mr Robert Frazier is badly misunderstanding and mishandling it which only compounds his error in convicting the JW of doing so!
Frazier goes on: In the New Testament, epiphaneia means only two things: Jesus' first coming, visibly, physically, in a body of human flesh, and Jesus' second coming, visibly, physically, in a body of human flesh.
Here we see Frazier is totally confused and confusing, misleading any who read him. He gives a meaning to the word that the word does not contain. He pours into this word all what he believes is the nature of Jesus' EPIPHANEIA. He could be right about its nature(but as Jehovah's Witnesses we would disagree)but you can't get that from the word EPIPHANEIA! The simple fact is one can not get this from the word by and in itself! Frazier is not aware of his totally fallaciousness here! What Frazier is patently doing is confusing what he believs is the reference of Jesus' Christ's EPIPHANEIA and all that he thinks it will be with the meaning of the word which is "appearing," appearance," "manifestation."
Frazier ends by writing: We can get into the details of that later. First, you need to retract the nonsense you have written about the meaning of epiphaneia and apologize for misleading the readers here into thinking that BAGD agrees with the Society's bizarre hyphotheses about the return of Jesus.
Robert V Frazier
The following reply which was posted shows who should be the one who ought to make an apology for misleading those who read him!
JW responded: You have typed all this out to no avail. Yes, I have every right to disagree with BAGD if it denies the sense it has been used for by other Greek writers, namely, "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity,..... by some deed of power by which its presence is made known" as Paul's sense at 1 Tim.6.14! But does it as you seem to think? It says, for Christ's "appearing on earth" But in what way? By the first or the second sense? When you say: "There is no honest way to get the idea of an invisible "presence" out of a
word whose meaning is just the opposite of "invisible"" you are not being "honest" your self for no one, including myself, have argued like this! I have in fact stated again and again that the word by and in itself can not be used to prove that Jesus "apearing" will be either in a physical bodily form or by a "strong deed of power." Each would be a visible "appearing" but the second one would not be actually seeing the divinity itself, as it is, its actual form but the divinity would be "manifest" in another way, by a "strong deed of power." You are simply making the root-word fallacy. What I did was to quote from the BAGD the basic senses of the word. If the editors of the lexicon goes on to say it was used of the "appearing of Christ on earth" that is not gotten from the word alone but from what they believe is the case with Jesus Christ's EPIPHANEIA. The lexicon is not meant to be understood as saying this is what the word means but to what is refers to. You are simply muddled by the lexicon's defintion and its reference! Can you see why what you have writen is to no avail in criticizing my right use of the BAGD? Did you forget to read where I make this point again and again to Johann?
Remember that I also quoted the author of 2 Maccabees who also used the word EPIPHANEIA in the sencond sense given by this lexicon and the subject there was the God of Isreal who was not, of course, thought to have actually appeared in some physical bodily form see-able with the human eye, but did "manifest" or "appear" yet remained invisible! Are you beginning to understand? Is it sinking in yet? And perhaps you can explain how this lexicon denies this sense when it cites the NT occurences with Jesus Christ as it's subject, when it states: "1. of Jesus' coming in judgment 1 Ti. 6: 14...". You just can not get from the word EPIPHANEIA your belief that Jesus "appearing" will be, to quote you "visibly, physically, in a body of human flesh." This then is a case of you not even understanding the lexicon you laborously typed out and in fact you then have abused! To confirm this let me quote Gordon Fee from his commentary of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus in the New International Biblical Commentary series. In an "additional note" to 1 Tim.6.14 and the word "appearing" he writes: "The word epiphaneia(appearing) had a considerable history in Hellenism as a technicl term for "a visible manifestion of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known"(BAGD). Do you see what I see? That this NT scholar has quoted exactly that part, and only that part of the BAGD that I did and in reference to its occurence at 1 Tim.6.14? This is because the two senses of the word are given by this lexicon where it does and any one of those can apply to any particular Greek writer including Paul in the NT including Christ Jesus being the subject! Do you now realise that what you have wrongly convicted me of doing you have convicted this NT scholar also!!! Fee goes on to write: "It thus became a common term in Hellenistic Judaism for "manifestation" of the power of God." He then cites, as I did, 2 Macc 2.21 and 3,24 but also 3 Macc.5.8; Letter of Aristeas 264; Josephus Antiquities 2.339; 3.310. Now, all these writers used the word epiphaneia in the second sense given by BAGD. If you had bothered to even look at other works you would see your error and the laughableness of your criticising me" Why do you not look at 1 Tim.6.14 in The Linguistic and Exegetical Key yo the Greek New Testament by Rogers Jr and Rogers III and see that this work informs its readers that the word epiphaneia at this place is a "technical term" just as the BAGD does with its abreviation "t.t."? Why do you not look at the glossary in the Translator's New Testament page 554 under the word "appearing"? This will confim my proper use of the BAGD and your mis-handling of it! Why don't you look up the comments given by An Analysis of the Greek New Testament by Zerwick and Grosvenor? Let me do it for you shall I? They write: "epi-phaneia manifestation, by act or appearance, of a divinity; here of Christ at his second coming." Did you notice the choices given? Be manifest by either an "act" or by "appearance"? Perhaps now you can inform us all why Paul could not have used it as the "t.t" it is as these other writers did so and in the second sense given. As I have pointed out to our friend Johan, who you are trying to help out(but rather you are being a blind quide to!)one just can not say this word shows that Christ's future "appearing" will be a "personal appearance" or "by some deed of power by which its presence is made known." One has to show this by other ways such as correctly exegeting its nature as shown by how the NT describes it as being."
Robert Frazier replied which we only quote a part here: There's nothing "right" about your misquoting of the BAGD. I quoted all of it, leaving nothing out. You quoted only what you could twist into JW doctrine, conveniently leaving out a fact that you knew all along, namely that your precious italics were written by pagans about Apollo! You should have mentioned that,. It's an important fact.
JW replied:: You have been caught out Robert, just admit it. The fact is that Prof.Gordon Fee in his commentary on Timothy in the New International Bilical Commentary series and Leon Morris's in The New International Commentary on the New Testament series quoted from that part of the BAGD entry for EPIPHANEIA, and only that part and applied that meaning to 1 Tim.6.14 as I did. The meaning of the word is "appearance," "manifestation" with the two senses given. This applies to all the occurrences given in the BAGD including the one's in the N.T. This is why both Fee and Morris quoted from that part of the lexicon they did. I likewise! To deny this is the same as denying you have a nose on your face when everyone else can see it! This shows your criticism that I have "misquoted" from it, there was "nothing right" about what I did, that I did so to "twist" it into "JW doctrine" is ridiculoues, ludicrous, laughable and risible. Unless you think that both these scholars did likewise! Hardly!
An Analysis of the Greek New Testament wrote "epi-phaneia manifestation, by act or appearance, of a divinity; here of Christ at his second coming." And I commented "Did you notice the choices given? Be manifest by either an "act" or by "appearance"? You replied: "And of course there's no possibility that they could be wrong, their being inspired by God and all!" A better option is that you are wrong Bob..unless its you who think you are the inspired one! No, Bob, it is you who can not even handle a Greek-English lexicon. My advice to you is to hand it over to someone who can.
We might add the following. Mr Robert Frazier believes that when the BAGD lexicon writes of two senses of the word EPIPHANEIA, namely, "As a relig. t.t. it means a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known " it only relates to the references the lexicon immediately gives namely; "Dionys. Hal. 2, 68; Diod. S. 1, 25, 3 and 4; 2, 47, 7 ; in 5. 49, 5" which he, Frazier, describes as "the table of pagan writers" and has no reference to Paul's meaning in the New Testament. As the above has shown(with the use of Gordon Fee's quotation of the two senses in reference to EPIPHANEIA of 1 Tim.6.14)this is completely erroneous and shows he can't even handle what he himself is reading! We have already quoted Fee from one part of his commentary but we can do so from another. On. p.512 discussing the word EPIPHANEIA at 1 Tim.6.14 he remarks:
"The word appearing(epiphaneia), which is used of Christ's incarnation in 2 Tim.1.10(cf.Titus 2.11), is the word used consistently in these letters to refer to the Second Advent..Paul's more common term is parousia; however, both words occur together as early as 2 Thessalonians 2.8. Although not certain, this usage may be another reflection of the Hellenistic religious terminology that occurs frequently in these letters."
We can also show this by quoting yet another scholar Leon Morris.(mentioned above by the JW discussant)In his The First and Second Epistle to the Thessalonians in the New International Commentary on the New Testament when commenting on the Greek word EPIPHANEIA at 2 Thess.2.8 remarks:
"It(epiphaneia) usually has some idea of striking splendour(its root meaning has to do with conspicuousness)."
Then who or what does Morris quotes? Yes, the BAGD lexicon by writing
"It is a technical term for "a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power which its presence is made known"(BAGD)"!
This scholar was not quoting the BAGD just to show the "historical background of how[this word was] used before the New Testament was written " but this scholar acknowledges that the meaning, with the two senses of the word, as he quotes them from the BAGD lexicon applies to Paul's use here at 2 Thess.2.8. Was Leon Morris "ransacking dictionary and lexicon entries, hunting for some crumbs from the table of pagan writers, hoping to use them to overturn the meaning of words as used in the Bible"? Hardly! Nor was the JW poster he accuses of doing who did the exact same thing!
Frazier commented from the same post:
"Ooo! So close to comprehension, yet so far! He[Gordon Fee who quoted the BAGD where the JW poster did] is not saying that's what it means at 1 Tim. 6:14. He's pointing out the "considerable history in Hellenism as a technical term" the word has outside the Bible! Historical background is always a good thing to keep in mind, but it does not determine the meaning of any word as used in the Bible. So, no, thank God, I don't see what you see. I don't see Gordon Fee claiming that what a pagan writer or two said about Apollo DETERMINES the meaning of what Paul wrote about Jesus! Wow, the leaps your mind can take,..!"
Here Frazier once again shows he does not know how to handle or understand the BAGD entry. Fee did NOT just quote from that part of the entry from the lexicon only to point out "the "considerable history in Hellenism as a technical term" the word has outside the Bible! " Anyone reading Fee with an objective mind will see that he cites the BAGD because the Greek word in the N.T. has the meaning it gives with the two ways of "appearing." The BAGD entry does cite Greek works speaking about the EPIPHANEIA "about APOLLO" but also the EPIPHANEIA of God in the LXX, Josephus and other Greek writings. Why did not Frazier admit this? Why did he restrict his comments to that of "APOLLO" only? Was it to try to hide this fact and hoping that his readers would not bother to check this up? Fee was not "claiming that what a pagan writer or two said about Apollo DETERMINES the meaning of what Paul wrote about Jesus" and the JW poster did not so claim Fee was. But Fee, and others such as Leon Morris, was showing the words meaning from all of the Greek writings both before and contemporary with the N.T. They all mean the same thing, "appearance," "appearing," "manifestation." Frazier is not being honest either with himself or with his readers.
Robert Frazier went on to state: I don't claim that it was somehow impossible for Paul to write of Jesus' return as the pagans did of Apollo allegedly intervening in their lives. I just point out that 1) the very lexicon you have been trying to hammer Johan with says that Paul in fact did not do so, and 2) you have left that fact (along with other important facts) out of this whole thread all along, because it's embarassing to your dogma.
What would have been more honest and accurate for Frazier to say is that it is not impossible for Paul to use the word to denote a future EPIPHANEIA, "appearance" of the Christ as one being of a "strong deed of power" rather than one which involved a "personal" return in the sense the Christ would return in a physical, fleshly human body see-able with the human eye because that is the way it is used in the LXX which Paul used and quoted from and other Jewish books written in Greek such as 2nd and 3rd Maccabees and Josephus. But Frazier, you will notice, only makes the admission he does in reference to "pagan" Greek writers! This is a very bad mis-use of the BAGD entry that can only be decribed as deceitful! The fact is that Paul not only used the word the same way as did those Greek "pagan" writers did, but also as those Jewish books did as mentioned by that lexicon, whom Paul would have been very familiar with and that of Josephus!
The fact is that
1) The lexicon does support the JW discussant's use against another poster, "Johan," who appeared to base his belief that Jesus would return personally in a physical fleshly body(see the first 'post' reproduced above)simply on the Greek word Paul used, and:
2) That what Frazier calls a "fact" on the part of the BAGD Greek-English lexicon is rather a total mishandling and very deceitful use of the lexicon's data of references by Frazier!
Later Frazier remarks: Quoting a lexicon entry does not make me a "blind guide".
But mishandling the lexicons data does!
Frazier: Once again, it is of historical interest to note that in the centuries prior to the New Testament, epiphaneia was used of pagan gods in a sense favorable to Watchtower dogma.
But also those contemporary to Paul, such as Josephus and also of course the LXX usage(which used the word in the sense that the lexicon states "As a relig. t.t. it means a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known") which Paul was very familiar with and indeed quoted from at times. It is not a question of a "historical interest" that some used it in a sense "favorable to Watchtower dogma"(which remark by Frazier shows that he does not even realise the "Watchtower" has never argued that from this Greek word nor any other Greek word Jesus return would be "invisible"!)but whether Paul used it in the sense that all these did. He did. There is no evidence to the contrary!
Indeed, we may quote yet another commentator on this Greek word. In his commentary in The New Century Bible Commentary 1 and 2 Thessalonians I.Howard Marshall, Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen states:
"The word[epiphaneia] has the same basic meaning as parousia, so much so that some commentators think that Paul is simply piling up words for effect. But the word was used in the OT for an epiphany or revelation of God especially but not exclusively in a hostile sense(2 Sam.7.23; 2 Mac.2.21; 3.24); and it was used in Hellenistic Greek for visits by emporers and other dignitaries."-italics ours except parousia, his.
We note here that this is mirroring what we can read in the BAGD and which the JW poster quoted. Indeed, Howard Marshall lists the 1957 edition of the BAGD, abbreviated as AG, in his list of "General Abbreviations." Please observe that Howard Marshall cites the LXX(2 Sam.7.23 and the books of 2 & 3 Maccabees) as well as Hellenistic Greek authors, such as "Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Diodorus Siculus about Apollo," to quote Frazier from the BAGD entry, just as the BAGD lexicon does. He then writes:
"Something of these senses may well be present here as Paul emphasises the powerful and sovereign character of the appearance of the Lord."--p.200. Pub. by Wm.B.Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983.
Yes, all those references listed in the BAGD after its giving the meaning for EPIPHANEIA, with its two ways a divinity reveals itself, could also be the same meaning Paul is here employing at 2 Thess.2.8. This shows that the JW poster understood the BAGD lexicon's entry and Robert Frazier did not. Yet it was Robert Frazier who came into the discussion querying the competency and honesty of the JW in quoting the BAGD!
Frazier went on: It is much greater importance to note, as the BAGD does, that this sense is not used in the New Testament, nor in early Christian literature apart from Papias. Biblical usage trumps pagan usage when we want to know what the Bible means. That ought to be self-evident. Biblical usage also trumps Jewish apocryphal usage.
Here we see Frazier creating a false dichotomy with the meaning of the word in the sources which the lexicon gives with those of the NT! Wrong. To tell what is the "biblical usage" of the word we can not say it is different from any other usage by the word itself! It could, in the N.T., either mean a revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ in a "personal way," that is, his actually revealing himself in a physical body of flesh, as a man, or by some "act" by some "strong deed of power." Frazier also forgets that the "Bible usage" would be no different to the LXX's and that of Josephus which are not "pagan uses" or "apocryphal"! What is "self evident" is Frazier's incompetence and ignorance but this not "self evident" to him!!
What Frazier seems to be forgetting is that the JW poster admitted all along that one can not just point to one Greek word, nor any Greek word, to show what the nature of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be and this includes the word EPIPHANEIA. Whether the editors of the lexicon quoted thought it had the nature of a "personal appearance" or "by some deed of power by which its presence is made known" is neither here nor there. They would not have gained their belief from this Greek word in and by itself(nor would Papias) but in how they believe the NT as a whole describes it and their presupposition borne from the traditional thinking on this subject. The simple plain fact is that the original poster's attempt to do this was wholly fallacious and Frazier should have realised this from the first and simply pointed this out to him(as the JW poster tried to) rather than making such a huge straw-man argument and a total misunderstanding and mishandling of the BAGD' data.
Mr Robert Frazier has been shown to be sorely wanting. It is he who should be humble enough to apologise to the JW poster who correctly and honestly used the BAGD lexicon but whom Frazier accused of being "incompetent" and "dishonest" and purposively and deceitfully selective so as to hide what Frazier thought, falsely, the Greek-English lexicon showed. Frazier should also apologise for his misleading, mishandling and misunderstanding of BAGD. We have asked for this apology and Frazier can contact us on here.
May 24th, 2006. Mr Robert Frazier has just posted on the CARM JW discussion board his belated 'explanation' regarding the above discussion which we reproduce here with following comments:
Frazier: "Problem is, I made a couple of points in some threads in the old board, this person responded with an attack that was so utterly irrational I was at a loss for words. I couldn't think of a thing to say that I hadn't already posted, so I just went on to some other threads. I can't MAKE someone see that the background historical info in a lexicon entry is -- background historical info. Not meant to determine the meaning of a word as actually used in the New Testament. I could have repeated it word-for-word, but I can't see how that would get the message through. So, I just dropped it. This pattern happened in four separate threads."
This is most emphatically Frazier's 'spin' on what occurred yet which our readers can see to be untrue and wholly misleading, a false report to what actually happened!
First of all we are at a loss as to where what the JW poster wrote was anything akin to what can be described as "utterly irrational"! Perhaps Mr Frazier would be so good as to show us where the JW was such! Of course, as any one can read for themselves here on this page, the JW poster was not being such and hence this must be Frazier's lame and dishonest attempt to explain away to those on the CARM JW discussion board his mistakes and mishandling of this lexicon. If only those who Frazier is writing to on that discussion board could read the original discussion themselves! But that is unlikely as Frazier did not and would not give any link to this web page nor is it allowed to be posted on that discussion board! Frazier realises this and so feels free to post an untrue report in what actually was argued for by the JW poster and what the lexicon actually does. He then says he could not think of anything further to say. We think he ought just have admitted his mistake in mishandling the lexicon's entry/data. That would be a start. He then describes what the lexicon gave as "historical background. Not meant to determine the meaning of a word as actually used in the New Testament." This is a repeat of what he claimed in the discussion. By this he means that what the lexicon said about the Greek word did not pertain to the meaning the bible writer, the apostle Paul, used it in the New Testament places it occurs. Then he has obviously not learned anything of that which he ought and is still in contradiction to those scholars(Fee and Morris to name but two)here above quoted that 'used' this lexicon's entry the exact same way the JW poster did, not just in reference to the word's "historical background" but as to its actual meaning which could have been/was Paul's meaning. When Frazier claims he "just dropped" the discussion the truth is Frazier realised his mistakes but was not humble or honest enough to admit it. Hence, an apology from Frazier as he is given the opportunity above is still wanting. Remember, Frazier asked the JW poster to apologize. But it is he who should do so. Also remember that Frazier said from the beginning the JW poster was either "incompetent" or "dishonest." From what Frazier has posted of late shows that he was and still is both.
(EPIPHANIA occurs only 6 times in the Greek New Testament. 2 Thess.2.8; 1 Tim.6.14; 2 Tim.1.10; 4.1, 8 and Tit.2.13. The New Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says: ".."an appearing, appearance(Tertull. apparentia); often used by the Greeks of a glorious manifestation of the gods, and esp of their advent to help; in 2 Macc. of signal deeds and events betokening the presence and power of God as helper...In the N.T. the 'advent' of Christ- not only that which has already taken place and by which his presence and power appear in the saving light he has shed upon mankind, 2 Tim.1.10...but also that illustrious return from heaven to earth to occur: 1 Tim.vi.14; 2 Tim.iv. 1, 8; Tit. ii.13." The Translator's New Testament(The British and Foreign Bible Society, 1973) says in its glossary: "Appearing(Greek epiphaneia): 2 Th 2:8; 1 Tm 6 :14; 2 Tm 1:10; 4:1, 8; Tt 2:13. This word occurs exclusively in the Pastoral Letters with the exeception of 2 Th 2:8. It was normally used as a religious technical term to denote the disclosure of a divine presence; it was applied, for example, to the 'appearance' which the Roman emperor made on his accession, or on his birthday. Thus it is used of the Incarnation, as at 2 Tm 1:10. The corresponding verbal form is used in this sense in Tt 2:11; 3:4. The other uses of the word in the Pastoral Letters refer to the final appearing of Christ which is parousia elsewhere in the NT..." )
Frazier calls a reviewer on Amazon a liar
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