Elsewhere in this paper you can read about the fact that Jesus Christ has appeared already in the world and that He is coming again. Many, however, are not aware that the Scripture speaks of three appearances of Jesus Christ. In fact all three appearings are mentioned in one passage of Scripture. Hebrews chapter nine, verses 22 through 28, give us the details. Each appearance is related to the other two. Each is unique and of great importance. In fact, I will be so bold as to say that without all three of the appearings of Jesus, we cannot have eternal salvation. Each of the three is absolutely critical to the eternal salvation of our souls.
In the following paragraphs, I hope to delineate the three different appearances of Christ. We will also show the time and importance of each. Please study with me this wonderful passage of Holy Scripture.
The Book of Hebrews, as the name suggests, is addressed to Jewish believers in Jesus Christ; Hebrew Christians. It has a series of comparisons and contrasts between the Old Covenant (Testament) and the New. In every way, the New Covenant of grace, under the Lord Jesus, is superior to the Old. The key word in the Book of Hebrews is “better.” The New Covenant has better promises, better offerings, a better priesthood, and a better sanctuary. Chapter nine is specifically comparing and contrasting the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament and especially the Great Day of Atonement with the blood sacrificed by the Lord Jesus. Blood is necessary for cleansing and forgiveness, as verse 22 says, “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Moses cleansed and consecrated the tabernacle by the blood of the covenant. (see vv. 17-21) Thereafter every year the High Priest entered into the “Most Holy Place” with the blood of atonement.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle,…” (vs.11) did not enter into an earthly sanctuary with His own precious blood. No, “…but into heaven itself” (vs. 24). And He did not take the blood of bulls or of goats, but His own precious blood (vs.14).
The First Appearing
of Jesus Christ
The first appearance of Jesus, as suggested above, has reference to His coming on the Earth. The Son of God took upon Himself the likeness of sinful man. As Hebrews says, He was “made like unto His brethren.” (2:17) As the apostle John put it, “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) The eternal Son of God, the Creator of all things, became a man. He did so for many purposes, but the main purpose was so that He could shed His blood and give His life as our Redeemer. He came the first time to be our “Sin-bearer.” He gave His life for His sheep, that God might deal with us in mercy and grace. Our text in Hebrews nine, verse 26, says, “now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
The first appearing of Jesus Christ was on the Earth to become “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Notice the verse above says, that Jesus “put away sin.” Romans chapter three uses the word “propitiation.” This a theological term that simply means, that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf fully satisfied the holy, righteous demands of God’s Law and God’s Holiness. God’s wrath is satisfied because it was put upon Jesus, our substitute. This is why the Word of God says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1) No condemnation, in Christ Jesus. Praise the Lord!
The Lord Jesus Christ, by His death at His first appearing, took away God’s wrath and condemnation, because He took away our sins. Our sin is the cause of God’s wrath and condemnation. God is holy and hates sin. As the righteous Judge of the Universe, God cannot overlook sin. Sin must be punished. “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) Not only the death of the body, but also the “second death,” which is “the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:14) The Bible plainly declares that all the sins of all of God’s elect were placed upon the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. He was made to be sin for us. (2 Cor. 5:21) “…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa. 53:5-6) Jesus took our sin upon Himself so that we can have forgiveness of sins. Thus the First Appearing of Jesus was as our Sin-Bearer. He took away our sin and the wrath of God “by the sacrifice of Himself.” Please, dear Reader, never forget that the sacrifice of Jesus was a perfect sacrifice. It never needs to be repeated. Any sacrifice made since that of the Lord Jesus is done either in ignorance or by deception. Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all. (Heb. 10:14)2
The Second Appearing
of Jesus Christ
The second appearing of Jesus is both an important and wonderfully marvelous truth. The second appearing of Jesus Christ is NOW in Heaven, for us. This is contrasted with the appearance of the Old Testament High Priest who went in to the Most Holy place of the Temple each year with “the blood of atonement.” Every year on the “Great Day of Atonement,” the blood of the animal sacrifice was taken behind the veil and sprinkled upon the “mercy seat.” By this, God’s wrath was appeased for another year, and He continued to dwell among His people in mercy BUT ONLY FOR ONE MORE YEAR.3
The Holy Spirit of God is contrasting this with the appearance of Jesus now in Heaven for us. Jesus did not take in the blood of a bull or goat, but His own precious blood. (vv. 12 & 14) Jesus did not enter into an earthly sanctuary, “but into Heaven itself” (vs. 24). It never needs to be repeated, because He is perpetually there to intercede for us. This intercession is based upon His sacrifice. Jesus, as our High Priest,4 both offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and now intercedes for us. This is one of the most glorious truths in the New Testament that makes our Eternal Salvation sure and certain. Jesus “…entered…into Heaven itself… to appear in the presence of God for us:” The apostle made it very clear by saying, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom. 8:34) All I can say to this, my Friend, is, Hallelujah!!
The Third Appearing
of Jesus Christ
The third appearing of Jesus Christ will be His glorious return to the Earth in Power and glory. To be sure, there are many glorious truths related to Jesus’ coming again.5 In this article, we will deal only with the part of Jesus’ coming again that relates to the salvation of our souls. Note the last verse of our text, which says, “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (vs. 28) When it says, “without sin,” it means without reference to sin. Certainly we know that Jesus was without sin and perfect in His first coming. (Heb. 4:15) But He came to take our sins upon Himself. He came as our Sin-Bearer. He has done that. When He comes again, it will be to Complete our
The New Testament speaks of our salvation in three tenses; past, present, and future. It is Biblically correct to say, “I have been saved,” “I am being saved,” “and shall be saved.” It would take far more space than we have here to explain fully all of this, but allow me to do so briefly. Through the Redemption in Christ Jesus, we have been saved from the curse and penalty of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and we shall be saved from the presence and all consequences of sin. For example, one of the consequences of sin is sickness, sorrow, and suffering in the world. We also now have to deal with temptation and sin, even though we have, through Christ, the power to resist it. But when Jesus comes again, sin, Satan, and temptation will be past. Hallelujah! When Jesus comes again, we will receive our glorified bodies and no longer deal with sickness or death. Our Salvation will be complete. Thus our text says that Jesus’ coming again will be, “…unto salvation.” “We are saved by (in) Hope.” (Rom. 8:24) This is why the Bible says that after the return of Jesus Christ, “…there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:4 This is why Jesus’ Second coming is called our “blessed hope.”
Yes, there are THREE APPEARINGS OF JESUS. He appeared once to sacrifice Himself to take away our sins. He appears now in Heaven for us to keep us saved, by making constant intercession for us. And He will appear on Earth again to make our salvation complete. We will rejoice then in His presence for eternity. Praise God for His grace in Christ Jesus our Lord! I hope and pray that everyone who reads these words has part in this glorious salvation of God through His Son. To be saved by Him is wholly of grace. It is received only by trusting on Jesus Christ, without any works. Paul the apostle said that he cast aside any hope in himself or in works so that he might be saved by Jesus alone. Read carefully what he said, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:…And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness,… but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” I leave you with this admonition, “Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
1I know that the word “appearings” should better be appearances, but I believe the word is understood and better conveys the thought intended. I trust you will allow me the license.
2Hebrews 9:24-26, 28 makes it very clear that Jesus’ sacrifice and intercession never needs to be repeated. Any “church” that claims to do so is acting contrary to the Word of God, and blaspheming the work of Jesus Christ.
3The Old Testament animal sacrifices never
actually took away sin. They were only symbolic
of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus that was to come. God accepted them as a temporary covering, when brought by faith. SEE Rom. 3:25; Heb. 10:4 etc..
4The New Testament knows nothing of any order of priests. Pastors are never called priests in the New Testament. We need only the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Through Him we all have access to the throne of God. See Heb.4:14-16; and Heb 10:19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
5This is the subject of the other main article of this paper and of upcoming issues of the Harmony Baptist Herald.