Three Things to Know About the Feast of Epiphany

A man dressed as one of the Three Kings greets people during the Epiphany parade in Gijon, Spain January 5, 2017. | REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

What is known at the Feast of Epiphany is celebrated by many Christians worldwide each year on Jan. 6, marking the revealing of Jesus as the Incarnate God. Many Eastern Orthodox believers mark the feast on Jan. 19.

Western Christians typically observe this day or closest weekend to remember when the Magi came to visit the Christ child, the revealing of Jesus to the Gentiles. As is recounted in Matthew 2, the men who had come from the East worshiped Jesus and presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

In Eastern Christianity, this day is known as Theophany and the day commemorates when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and emphasizing Jesus as both fully human and fully God. As is recounted in Matthew 3, when Jesus emerges from the water, the Heavens open, the Spirit of God descends in the form of a dove, and a voice from Heaven said: “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.”

Here are three important things to know about the feast of Epiphany and how it’s being celebrated.

What does epiphany mean?

The word epiphany means manifestation or appearance, from the Greek epipháneia, which is derived from the verb “to appear.” When spoken of apart from anything distinctly theological or spiritual, to have an epiphany is to come to an understanding about the essential nature of something that might feel as though it is the most important realization that can be attained, perhaps even that the truth of it had been previously hidden.

Scripturally speaking, in the New Testament the word is used to describe Christ’s birth, His appearance after being resurrected from the dead, and His Second Coming.

“Theophany,” from the Greek theophaneia, is distinctly about God and how He manifests Himself to humanity.

Although one of God’s attributes is that He is indeed omnipresent, a theophany is a temporary and sudden revealing of His appearance, and not an enduring presence.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter