The Greek word (a·po·kaʹly·psis) thus translated denotes “an uncovering” or “a disclosure” and is often used regarding revelations of spiritual matters or of God’s will and purposes. (Lu 2:32; 1Co 14:6, 26; 2Co 12:1, 7; Ga 1:12; 2:2; Eph 1:17; Re 1:1; Int) The operation of God’s spirit makes such revelations possible. Concerning the revelation of “the sacred secret,” the apostle Paul wrote: “In other generations this secret was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by spirit, namely, that people of the nations should be joint heirs and fellow members of the body and partakers with us of the promise in union with Christ Jesus through the good news.”—Eph 3:1-6; Ro 16:25.
The book of Acts forcefully confirms that this revelation of the sacred secret resulted from the operation of God’s spirit. It had been at the spirit’s direction that Peter, Paul, and Barnabas preached to non-Jews. Believing non-Jews, “people of the nations,” received holy spirit while in an uncircumcised state, thereby becoming a people for God’s name. (Ac 10:9-48; 13:2-4) The prophet Amos, under inspiration, had foretold this and, in the first century C.E., the fulfillment of his prophecy became evident through the operation of God’s spirit.—Ac 15:7-20; compare Am 9:11, 12, LXX.
The Bible also speaks of “the revealing of God’s righteous judgment” (Ro 2:5), “the revealing of the sons of God” (Ro 8:19), and “the revelation of Jesus Christ” and “of his glory.” (1Pe 1:13; 4:13) A consideration of the context and related texts aids in determining when such revealings, or revelations, occur. In each case, the revealing, or revelation, is a time for causing righteous persons to enter into particular rewards and blessings or for bringing destruction upon wicked ones.
Of the Sons of God. In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul identified God’s “sons” as those having received a spirit of adoption. Being joint heirs with Christ, these sons of God will be glorified. (Ro 8:14-18) The Lord Jesus Christ will refashion their humiliated body to conform to his glorious body (Php 3:20, 21), and they will reign with him as kings. (2Ti 2:12) So “the revealing of the sons of God” points to the time when it will become evident that they have indeed been glorified and are reigning with Christ Jesus. The glory that will be revealed in them will be so grand that it will make all their former suffering on earth seem like nothing. (Ro 8:18, 19) This revealing is attended by grand blessings, for the apostle Paul writes: “The creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Ro 8:21.
Of God’s Righteous Judgment. At Romans 2:5 “the revealing of God’s righteous judgment” is associated with ‘the day of God’s wrath.’ Therefore, God’s righteous judgment is revealed when ‘he renders to each one according to his works,’ everlasting life to those enduring in work that is fine and destruction to those obeying unrighteousness.—Ro 2:6-8.
Of Jesus Christ. “The revelation of Jesus Christ” and “of his glory” is a time for rewarding his faithful followers and executing vengeance upon the ungodly. He is thus revealed as a glorious King, empowered to reward and to punish. The Scriptures show that spirit-anointed Christians who faithfully endured suffering would be “overjoyed” during the revelation of Christ’s glory. (1Pe 4:13) The tested quality of their faith would be found a cause for praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, and these Christians would become recipients of undeserved kindness. (1Pe 1:7, 13) On the other hand, those who do not know God and who do not obey the good news about the Lord Jesus would be destroyed everlastingly, thereby bringing relief to those who have suffered tribulation at their hands.—2Th 1:6-10.