By George Feldman
A delightful sight that is common in farming communities are the roadside fruit and vegetable stands displaying fresh produce at harvest time. God has provided great variety in our food supply, but as a rule we do not describe fruits as vegetable or vegetables as fruit. They are different.
To give this a Biblical application, many evangelical believers do not see the difference between the so-called Rapture of I Thess. 4:16&17, and that Blessed Hope of Titus 2:13. They are seen by them as one and the same Hope. But they are as different as if you tried to compare apples and oranges. Unfortunately, the principle of right division is an alien concept in the minds of most believers today.
The manifestation of Christ anticipated in the Thessalonian epistle was the Hope of the believers in the Acts period, and has reference to His Second Coming literally and physically to the earth to set up His Kingdom. The word used in the original language of the N.T. is apokalupsis, denoting an unveiling, a revelation and appearing. Another word used in connection with this event isparousia, a coming with the idea of a permanent dwelling, and onward.
After Israel was set aside in the decree of Acts 28:28, this hope was put in abeyance. A new revelation of truth and a new Hope was given unto the Apostle Paul by the ascended Lord. The term used this time is epiphaneia, a shining forth of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this event and manifestation He will riot meet saints in the air as promised in Thessalonians. The term apokalupsis is an event for Christ which cannot be found in the prison epistles. In the epiphaneia of Christ Jesus, He will meet the members of His body church, of which He is Head, in the super-heavenlies where the members have their citizenship (Phil. 3:20). The blessings enjoyed will not be earthly, but are revealed as every blessing Spiritual in Heavenly Places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3).