Revelation - Trench's New Testament Synonyms
Revelationapokalypsis (G602) Revelation
epiphaneia (G2015) Appearing
phanerosis (G5321) Manifestation
Apokalypsis is used only once in the Old Testament (1 Sam. 20:30) and then in the subordinate sense of "nakedness." Apokalypsis occurs three times in the Apocrypha (Ecclus. 11:27; 22:22; 41:23), though without the grander meaning it has in the New Testament. In the New Testament, apokalypsis is predominantly, though not exclusively, a Pauline word that occurs some nineteen times. It is translated in the Authorized Version by a variety of words: "coming" (1 Cor. 1:7), "manifestation" (Rom. 8:19), "appearing" (1 Pet. 1:7), and once as "to lighten." In the New Testament, apokalypsis always has the majestic sense of God's unveiling of himself to his creatures, an unveiling that we call by its Latin name revelation. In the New Testament, the verb apokalyptein (G601) commonly has this same sense, though this is not the first time that it was so used. In the Septuagint version of Daniel, for example (Dan. 2:19, 22, 28), this sense was anticipated. Apokalyptein does not always mean "to reveal"; sometimes it simply means "to uncover" or "to lay bare" (Prov. 21:19; Luke 12:2).
Jerome incorrectly claimed that apokalypsis is not used outside of the Septuagint and New Testament:
Apokalypsis is a word exclusive to the Scriptures, employed by none among the Greeks in the time of their sages. Hence they appear to me, as in other words which the Septuagint translators transferred from Hebrew to Greek, to have earnestly attempted to express the proper signification of a foreign tongue, forming new words for new things, and to give utterance when anything hidden or concealed is presented and brought to light by removing the covering.
The nonexistence in Jerome's time of exhaustive lexicons or concordances of the greater writers of antiquity may well excuse his mistake. Plato used apokalyptein several times, and in the later Greek of Plutarch, apokalypsis appears frequently. Jerome was correct in that the religious use of apokalypsis was unknown in the heathen world, and the corresponding Latin word revelatio (revelation) was absolutely unknown in classical Latin. Elsewhere, Jerome made a similar mistake regarding the verb katabrabeuein (G2603; Col. 2:18), which he understood as a Pauline cilicism.
In its higher Christian use, Arethras explained apokalypsis as "the explanation of hidden mysteries, the guidance of the soul being enlightened either through divine visions or in a dream as a result of divine illumination." According to Theophylact, when apokalypsis is used with optasia, optasia refers only to what is shown or seen, possibly without being understood; apokalypsis, however, includes not only the thing shown and seen but its interpretation or unveiling as well. Theophylact said: "Apokalypsis has something more than optasia, for the latter grants only to see, but the former reveals also something deeper than what is seen." Thus Daniel's vision of the four beasts was seen but not understood, until the one who stood by gave Daniel the interpretation. What is true of optasia also will be true of horama and horasis.
Epiphaneia is used only twice in the Septuagint but frequently in 2 Maccabees, where it always refers to God's supernatural apparitions in aid of his people. In secular Greek, epiphaneia always refers to the gracious appearances of the higher powers who aided humans. Epiphainein (G2014) also was used in the same way, though sometimes it had a much humbler meaning. Epiphaneia is used only six times in the New Testament, always in Paul's writings. On five occasions the Authorized translators translated it as "appearing," but on the sixth (2 Thess. 2:8) they seem to have shrunk from what they thought was a tautology"appearance of his coming"and instead translated epiphaneia tes parousias as "brightness of his coming," thus giving epiphaneia an improper meaning. On one occasion (2 Tim. 1:10, and so epiphainein,Titus 2:11; 3:4), epiphaneia refers to our Lord's first epiphany, his "appearance [epiphaneia] in the flesh," but on all other occasions it refers to his second appearing in glory, the "appearance [epiphaneia] at his parousia"(2 Thess. 2:8), "the glorious appearing [epiphaneia] of our great God."
In comparison, apokalypsis is the more comprehensive and grander word. It depicts the progressive and immediate unveiling of the otherwise unknown and unknowable God to his church throughout the ages. This revelation is imparted to the body that is thereby designated or constituted as his church, the object of his more immediate care that is called to spread this knowledge of him to the rest of mankind. The world may know something of God (his eternal power and Godhead) from the things that are seen, things that except for the darkening of the human heart through sin would reveal him more clearly (Rom. 1:20). But there is no apokalypsis except to the church. The epiphaneiai are contained in the apokalypsis as separate points or moments. If God is to be immediately known to humans, he must in some shape or other appear to those whom he has chosen for this honor. Epiphanies must be theophanies as well. The church has claimed as such not only the communications of the type recorded in Genesis 18:1 and 28:13, but also all of those instances where the angel of the Lord or of the covenant appears. The church has regarded all of these as preincarnate appearances of the Son of God, the most glorious epiphany that has yet occurred, though Christ's second coming will be an even more glorious epiphany.
Phanerosis is used only twice in the New Testament (1 Cor. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:2). Although it is a lofty term, phanerosis does not refer (as the other words do) either to the first or second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (though it could have done so), as does the verb phanerousthai (G5319), which is used to refer to both. The fathers often used phanerosis in this way. Thus Athana-sius called the incarnation "the bodily manifestation [phanerosis] of the Father's Logos." It is difficult to understand why phanerosis was not used to depict the same glorious facts as the other words that were so closely allied with it in meaning and to understand whether this was accidental or intentional.