Blessed Hope -
The Glorious Appearing Of Jesus Christ
“Looking for that
blessed hope, and the glorious
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”
Titus 2:13 (KJV)
Titus 2:13 is unusual in that it has 2 instances of Greek syntax that
fit the Granville Sharp rule of exegesis. The Granville
is important to theologians and translators because of it's impact on
NT doctrine (for example it is used to prove Christ’s deity in Titus
2:13b, cp 2 Pet 1:1).
Unfortunately the KJV makes two additions to the
text of Titus 2:13 that have caused some to completely misinterpret and
verse says. The KJV translators placed a comma between ‘blessed hope’
‘glorious appearing’ and a definite article (the) before ‘glorious
neither of which are in the original Greek.
The ‘left behind’ pretribulational theology takes
to mean that the ‘blessed hope’ is the rapture and the ‘glorious
the Second Coming seven years later. They are right that the ‘glorious
appearing’ is the Second Coming but wrong in seeing two different
separated by years.
“The AV makes "that
hope" and "the glorious appearing" to be two different things,
whereas the Greek text requires that they be construed as one.
Granville Sharp's rule here,
which says that when there are two nouns
same case connected by kai
(and), the first noun having the article, the second noun
the article, the second noun refers to the same thing the first noun
is a further description of it. Thus, that blessed hope is the
appearing of our Lord. The translation should read,
the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ."
The same rule applies
to the words,
"the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Both expressions refer
to the same individual. The deity of the Lord Jesus is brought out here
rule of Greek syntax….the Christian's God and Saviour is Jesus Christ”.
Is the rapture our
blessed hope as the 'left behind' teachers insist? NO, Jesus Christ is
our hope! "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according
to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is
hope" (1 Tim. 1:1, emphasis added) and we await his glorious
And when is this appearing? Doug Milne commenting on Titus 2:11-15
expresses Paul's meaning well:
All this takes place while we wait
for the blessed hope - the glorious
appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ (verse
Christian morality is driven by Christian eschatology, the confident
expectation of the visible coming in glory of Jesus Christ at the close
of this age. Believers are saved in this hope (Rom. 8:24f.), because
the final events of the history of salvation have still to be played
out when Jesus comes again. So believers wait for the hope of
righteousness (Gal. 5:5; Col. 1:4f.). Their hope is blessed because it
will bring in their perfect blessedness in the enjoyment of the
presence of their Lord forever.
Christ's coming in glory will actually
be his re-appearing (Paul uses
the same word here as in verse eleven for Christ's first coming), for
it is the same Jesus who rose to heaven at his ascension (Acts 1:9ff.)
who will descend from heaven at his return (1 Thess. 4:16ff.). That
promised coming is the continuing focus of the Christian's faith and
hope, whether in the meantime he departs through death to be with
Christ (the experience of most believers), or lives to see the actual
event of Christ's return.
The Lord's coming will be a "glorious
appearing" because the full
extent of his personal glory as God and Saviour will be revealed on
that day for the very first time. The glory of Christ, that is hidden
from creation now, will then become universal knowledge, so that every
knee will bow to him and every living thing proclaim him Lord (Phil.
2:9ff.). It will be as God and Saviour that Jesus Christ will be
revealed in that day. He is God no less than Saviour, a Saviour because
he is God. Paul is consistent in his ascription of deity to Jesus (Rom.
9:5; Phil. 2:5f.; Col. 1:19; 2:9), as are the other writers of the New
Testament (John 1:1 ff.; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 5:6). The glorious
appearing of Jesus will only confirm believers in what they already
know. Christians have always sung hymns and said prayers to Christ as
For further study:
- For information on the Granville Sharp Rule and Titus 2:13 see my
- A copy of the
original book by Granville Sharp that can be downloaded here: Granville
Sharp Book (PDF file).
see a good article on Granville Sharp's rules with notes by Tim
Kenneth Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, ©
Publishing Co. (italics added for emphasis). Also see Dr. Wuest's
translation in The
New Testament: An Expanded
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1961. Interestingly, even though Dr.
Wuest was a hard-core pretribulationist
he does not let his theology color his exegesis of the Greek text in
 The Greek word for "appearing" is epiphaneia (epiphaneia) which was
used by the
Greeks of Paul's day when they spoke of the glorious appearing of their
gods. In this passage it is used of the glory that will accompany the
coming of Christ. Some translations say "glorious appearing", an
alternate translation is "the appearing of the glory."
 Focus On The Bible, Commentary on Titus by
W. Milne, The Ephesians Four Group Electronic Version.