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Christ's Appearances 

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The gospel which Paul preached included the fact that Christ was seen.

The Scriptures often speak of Christ's appearances. Let's take a look.

Appeared at the end of the age. Writing about Christ, the Hebrew author said, "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (
Heb. 9:26). The Revised Version says, "at the end of the age". It would not be possible for sin to be put away without Christ's appearance! "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). How thankful we should be "...that he was manifested to take away our sins..." (1 Jn. 3:5)! The death of Christ marks the end of the Mosaic age (Heb. 9:15-17).

Appeared after his resurrection. The gospel which Paul preached included the fact that "he [Christ] was seen" (
1 Cor. 15:5-8). There are many appearances of Christ after His resurrection. Mark 16 records: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene....After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country... Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as thy sat at meat..." (vv. 9, 12, 14). The post- resurrection appearances are unshakable evidence of the fact that Christ "...rose again the third day..." (1 Cor. 15:4). Ananias said to Saul, "...the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me..." (Acts 9:17). The Lord informed Saul, "...I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee" (Acts 26:16). The appearance of Christ to a man named Saul makes many things stand out. It emphasizes the fact that the grace of our Lord is exceeding abundant, and that even the chiefest of sinners can be saved (1 Tim. 1:12-15)!

Appeared in heaven. Emphasizing how law-sacrifices were inferior to that of Christ, the ambassador to the Hebrews made known: "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (
Heb. 9:24). Under the law of Moses, the high priest went into the most holy place on the annual day of atonement (Lev. 16). This foreshadowed Christ's appearance into heaven for us which took place "...when he [God] raised him [Christ] from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:20). Because of this heavenly appearance-entrance, redemption is available! " his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 9:12). The fact that under the law there were many holy place appearance-entrances and Christ appeared once shows the superiority of Christ!

Shall appear the second time. One of the promises of the New Testament is that Christ shall "...appear the second time..." (
Heb. 9:28). Writing the Colossians Paul said, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col. 3:4). Peter talked about "...when the chief Shepherd shall appear..." (1 Pet. 5:4). John also stated, "...when he shall appear..." (1 Jn. 2:28; 3:2). Notice it's always "when he shall appear" and never "if he shall appear" as "the day of the Lord will come" (2 Pet. 3:10). Since "of that day and that hour knoweth no man..." (Mk. 13:32), every man must be ready for the appearance of Christ every day, every hour! Have you readied yourself by hearing, believing and obeying the gospel?

John Edwards

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