Author: Ron Graham
Three Appearings of Jesus
In the following verses, we find three appearings of Jesus Christ the Son of God —present, past, and future.
¶“24For Christ has not entered holy places made by human hands. They are only representations of the true. Rather, Christ has entered into heaven itself. He now appears before the face of God on our behalf.”
¶“25Nor did he enter to offer himself many times, like the high priest who enters the holy places every year with blood not his own. 26If Christ were like that, he should have suffered over and over since the foundation of the world. But in fact, he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages, to banish sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
¶“27Thus it is appointed for humans to die once, and after that comes judgment. 28So Christ, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time. This will not be to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:24-28).
1 His Present Appearing —intercession
"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made by hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Hebrews 9:24)
The present appearing of Christ is not on earth but in heaven. We "do not see him now" (1Peter 1:3-9), but he is manifest in God’s presence and on God’s throne. "He ever lives to make intercession for us... a high priest fitting for us... higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:25-26).
2 His Past Appearing —sacrifice
"Not that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of another, for then he would have to suffer often since the foundation of the world. But now, once at the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:25-26)
The past appearing of Christ began with his birth in Bethlehem and ended with his death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven. There are many witnesses to the Son of God becoming flesh. For example...
- John recognised him as the Word who became flesh. "In the beginning was the Word ...and the Word was God ...and the Word became flesh" (John 1:1,14).
- Wise men from the east recognised him as the King. "Where is the One born King of the Jews? ...We have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2)
- Simeon recognised him as the Saviour. "Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and said, 'Lord... My eyes have seen Your Salvation'" (Luke 2:25-32
- John the Baptizer recognised him as the perfect sacrifice. "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29)
- Peter recognised him as the Christ. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16)
- Thomas recognised him as Lord and God "And Thomas answered, and said to Jesus, 'My Lord and My God!'" (John 20:28)
- Paul recognised him in these words, "he loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20)
3 His Future Appearing —salvation
"And as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this the judgment, so Christ was offered to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for him he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." (Hebrews 9:27-28)
The future appearing of Christ was promised by Jesus when he said, "I will come again to take you to myself, that where I am there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).
The angels promised that Jesus would come again. "He will come again in the same way you have seen him go" (Acts 1:10-11). And John heard in visions, "Behold, he is coming in the clouds and every eye shall see him" (Revelation 1:7).
While the rest of the world will be terrified by the fiery angels destroying the world, Christ’s followers will be caught up to meet him in the air, and he will take them away to ever live with him in heaven.
"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God... we shall be caught up to meet him in the air... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire..." (1Thessalonians 4:14-18, 2Thessalonians 1:5-10).
Note:— The Greek for “appear” in 1 and 2 above is φαινω (phaino 5319), to be manifest. For 3 above the Greek is οπτομαι (optomai 3700), to be seen. For the purpose of this lesson, these words are regarded as synonyms.
Acknowledgment:— Thanks to F.D.Craig (Ulverstone Tasmania) for lesson concept.