Jesus’ Post-Death Appearances

not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have had 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. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once 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 9:25-28).

When the Old Testament’s high priest went into God’s presence in the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, he went alone. “There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy place until he comes out” (Leviticus 16:17). Sewn into the hem of his robe was an alternating of bells and pomegranates (Exodus 39:33-36). If the assembly outside the tabernacle was quiet enough, it was possible to hear him moving within the darkness of the Most Holy Place.

Jewish tradition reports that eventually a long rope was tied around the high priest’s waist so that should he be struck dead for irreverence while carrying out his duties, his corpse could be safely retrieved without transgressing the sanctity of God’s presence and incurring further death(s).

The reappearance of the high priest was unmistakable, visible proof that the atoning sacrifice he had just offered to God had been accepted.

This Old Testament background is vitally important to the New Testament in two significant ways.

First, Jesus’ physical resurrection from the borrowed tomb of Joseph from Arimathea on the first day of the week is unmistakable, visible proof that the atoning sacrifice He had just made three days earlier at Calvary for the sins of the world had been acceptable to God. No one has to wonder about the saving power of Jesus’ atonement. The many infallible proofs of his bodily resurrection (Acts 1:3) is also proof of the cleansing power of His blood.

Second, Jesus’ future appearance will conclude his work as high priest. The experience of eternal redemption in heaven will begin. The hope of eternal life will be realized, never to be interrupted.

How fitting it is to eagerly wait for Him and His second appearance!

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Author: jchowning

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