The Manner Of Our Lord’s Return
JESUS NOW A SPIRIT BEING
We will now give the basic reason, our tenth line of Scriptural evidence, proving that our Lord's Return is invisible to men's physical sight, though visible to their mental eyes. This basic reason is that our Lord since His resurrection is no more a human, but is a spirit being, of necessity having, as such, a body that is invisible to mankind's physical sight. Hence the manner of His Coming must be invisible.
We will now proceed to present twelve lines of evidence of this fact from the Bible, offering Bible passages and doctrines to establish this truth.
DIRECT BIBLE STATEMENTS
(a) God directly tells us that Jesus is now a spirit being. Among other places this is stated in 1 Cor. 15:45: "The first man Adam [Gen. 2:7] was made a living soul [a human being with a human body]; the last [Jesus, the Second (v. 47)] Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit." Therefore as the Adam of the Garden of Eden was made a human being, so the Adam of heaven [Jesus in His resurrection] was made a spirit being.
In v. 46 Paul expressly tells us that the Adam of the Garden of Eden was not a spirit, but a human being; and that the later Adam, our Lord, is a spirit being. The Apostle proves this by showing in v. 47 that the first Adam had a body made "of the earth," of material substances, while the Second Adam, our Lord, had a body "from heaven," of spiritual substances.
In the Greek of v. 47 the expression translated "of the" in the phrase "of the earth" is the same as that translated "from" in the phrase "from heaven." In both cases the substances from which the bodies were formed are meant. These three verses (1 Cor. 15:45-47) by their direct statements and by their contrasts of the two Adams, as well as their bodies and the substances from which they were made, prove that our Lord was raised from the dead a spirit being with a spirit body, and not a human being with a human body.
Further, our Lord Jesus is in 2 Cor. 3:17 again directly called a spirit: "Now the Lord is that spirit."
The Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 5:16 writes: "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now [and] henceforth know we him [so] no more." He no more knew Christ as a human being, "according to the flesh," though the disciples had once known Him as such before our Lord's death. This verse therefore implies that Jesus was no more a human being when Paul used this language of Him, though He had previously been a human being. The reason for the change was that when our Lord was resurrected He was raised from the dead a spirit being, and not a human being.
1 Pet. 3:18 is strongly to the point when it says of Jesus' death and resurrection, "being put to death in the flesh, but made alive [not "in the flesh," be it noted, but] in the spirit" (ASV). Let the reader particularly note the contrast as given in this verse between that in which He was put to death and that in which He was made alive. According to creedal theology, which teaches that our Lord was raised from the dead a human and not a spirit being, this verse should read, "Being put to death in the flesh, and made alive in the flesh." But God, who cannot lie, declares the exact opposite, saying, "Being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." The article "the" is not found in the Greek before the words for flesh and spirit: "put to death in flesh, but made alive in spirit" is the literal rendering from the Greek. Therefore our Lord is now a spirit.
The four passages just quoted and briefly explained demonstrate that our Lord since His resurrection is no more a human being but is a spirit being, and that, according to other passages, of the Divine nature, the highest of all spirit natures. If He is a spirit being, He of necessity is invisible to mankind's physical sight, and therefore His Second Coming must be invisible to physical sight in its manner.
JESUS' JOINT-HEIRS TO BE SPIRIT BEINGS
(b) Not only do the Scriptures directly teach that our Lord since His resurrection is no longer a human, but is a spirit being; they also teach it by necessary inference in declaring that the Body members in their resurrection would have spirit bodies, and that they thereby would have bodies like His body. Therefore His body must be a spirit body. That the Body members were promised spirit bodies we see from 1 Cor. 15:42, 44: "So also is the resurrection of the dead [the article the in both cases is emphatic in the Greek, meaning the special resurrection, the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:4, 6)]. It is sown in corruption [material beings, of flesh, bones, blood, etc., are corruptible]; it is raised in incorruption [spirit beings are incorruptible, made of spiritual substances, like fire, lightning, etc.]. It is sown a natural [material, earthly] body; it is raised a spiritual [immaterial, heavenly] body." This passage proves that the spiritual elect receive spirit bodies, and thus are spirit beings in the resurrection, as during their earthly lifetime they have had human bodies, and therefore have been human beings.
The same thought, that of the Body members being changed from human to spirit beings in the resurrection, is expressed in 1 Cor. 15:51-54: "We shall all be changed [in nature], in a moment … for the trumpet shall sound, and the [emphatic in the Greek] dead [the Body members, who are the pre-eminent dead] shall be raised incorruptible [not in bodies made of flesh, blood, bones, etc. (v. 50)—which would be corruptible, because made of material or earthly substances—but in spiritual bodies, which are incorruptible, because made of spiritual or heavenly substances, such as fire, electricity, etc.], and we shall be changed. For this corruptible [person] must put on incorruption [by gaining a spiritual, heavenly body] and this mortal [person] must put on immortality [by gaining a spiritual body of the highest of all spiritual natures, the Divine]."
But the Scriptures clearly teach also that the bodies which the Body members would have in the resurrection are just like Jesus' resurrection body. If this can be proven, it would follow that Jesus at His resurrection received a spirit body, and hence is no more a human, but a spirit being.
Quite a number of Scriptures prove this. E.g., 1 John 3:2: "It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is"—not as He was; for if they were to become like Him as He was while in the flesh (Heb. 5:7), it would already have appeared what they would be like in their resurrection bodies.
Also, 1 Cor. 15:48, 49 conveys the same thought: "As is [was; the words is and are throughout verse 48 are or should be in italics, which means that they were supplied by the translators, without any corresponding words in the original Greek; that the word "was" should have been supplied here is evident from the fact that Adam is here meant] the earthy [one, Adam], such are [will be] they also that are [will be] earthy [the world, apart from the elect, in the resurrection]; and as is the heavenly [One, Jesus in His resurrection body], such are [will be; this promise was made to the spiritual elect, selected during the Gospel Age] they also that are [will be] heavenly [in their resurrection bodies]. And as we [the spiritual elect, selected during the Gospel Age] have borne the image of the earthy [one, Adam, i.e., as surely as they have had bodies like Adam's, 'of the earth earthy'], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [One, Jesus, i.e., so surely do they in the resurrection receive bodies like Jesus' resurrection body]."
A similar thought is taught in Phil 3:21. Thus these verses prove the thought that the saints in their spirit bodies, gained in the resurrection, would have bodies like our Lord's resurrection body. But since the spiritual elect are promised spirit bodies in the resurrection, Jesus must have a spirit body in His resurrection. Therefore His resurrection body must be invisible to mankind's physical eyes, and so His body at His Return must be invisible to them.
JESUS' INHERITING THE KINGDOM
PROVES THAT HE IS NOW A SPIRIT BEING
(c) That Jesus since His resurrection is a spirit being and therefore invisible to mankind's physical sight at His Return is evident from a third line of thought. He has inherited the kingdom of heaven, which a human being cannot inherit, unless he gives up his humanity and becomes a spirit being. The Apostle Paul assures us in 1 Cor. 15:50 that "flesh and blood [a human being as such—Heb. 2:14; Matt. 16:17; Gal. 1:16—with bones, teeth, fingernails, etc.] cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption [material bodies are not made into spiritual bodies]." Accordingly, fleshly bodies will never be transubstantiated and thus be taken to heaven. To gain a heavenly resurrection one must be "changed," as Paul clearly teaches (1 Cor. 15:50-54)—from human nature to a spirit nature, but not by his body being converted into that of another nature.
This is also Jesus' teaching in His disclosure to Nicodemus (John 3:5-8): "Except a man be born of water [the Truth] and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [the Body members' Spirit-begettal through the Word would introduce them into the embryo or militant phase of the Kingdom of heaven, whereby they would become new creatures in Christ (1 Cor. 4:15; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 Cor. 5:17) and candidates for membership in the born or glorified phase of the Kingdom of heaven (Jas. 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:3-6); their birth of the Spirit would introduce them into the born or glorified phase of God's Kingdom beyond the veil]. That which is born of the flesh [of a human being] is flesh [a human being]; and that which is born of the Spirit is [a] spirit [a spirit being, which one must become to enter the glorified phase of the Kingdom of heaven, as Jesus says in v. 3]. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again [from above, margin]. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but [because it is invisible] canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so [invisible as the wind, yet powerful] is every one that is born of the Spirit."
The surest proof that one is not born of the Spirit in the earthly lifetime is the fact, suggested by this verse, that his coming and going now can be seen; but when he is born of the Spirit he can come and go like the wind, physically invisible to mankind. The Scriptures teach that to enter the glorified condition of the Kingdom, one must undergo a change of nature from the human to the spirit nature—a re-creation, which like any other birth begins with a begettal, proceeds through a quickening, a growth, a strengthening, a balancing and a perfecting, and is completed by a birth as a spirit being, as we have clearly shown in our "Born Again" booklet (a copy free on request). Jesus shows in John 3:6 that by the birth of the Spirit His Church became spirits, and He assures them in v. 8 that as spirits they will be invisible. Jesus, of course, as the chief one in the Kingdom of heaven has inherited it, has entered it, which implies that He is no longer a human, but a spirit being (1 Cor. 15:50; John 3:6), which He became at His resurrection (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; Heb. 1:3-5; Acts 13:33); and therefore He is physically invisible and His Return must therefore be invisible to mankind's physical eyes.
JESUS HIGHER THAN THE ANGELS
(d) A fourth consideration proves that our Lord is no longer a human being but since His resurrection is a spirit being: the fact that He is now higher than the angels. While He was in the flesh He was lower than the angels, even as the Apostle Paul declares, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [which in v. 7 he says is an essential attribute of human nature] for the suffering of death" (Heb. 2:9).
Thus as long as Jesus was in the flesh, i.e., while He was a human being, which He no more is according to this passage, He was a little lower than the angels. But the Bible clearly teaches that since His resurrection He is far higher than the angels, and as such is the exact image of the Father's person—a Divine being (Heb. 1:3-5; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9-11). Therefore, as the exact image of the Father's person, He is since His resurrection a spirit being (John 4:24). Jesus now being far higher than the angels, of the Divine nature, as a spirit must be invisible, and so His Second Coming is invisible to mankind's physical eyes.
JESUS BECAME HUMAN ONLY TO RANSOM US
(e) Jesus became human only in order that He might die as our Ransom, as the Apostle Paul teaches, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [which vs. 6 and 7 teach means that He was made a human being—John 1:14] for the suffering of death … that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Having by His death fulfilled the purpose for which He became a human being, He had therefore no more need of human nature for Himself than He had need of it while He was with the Father during the Ages before He became flesh. Hence there being no need of His having human nature for Himself after His death, we may be sure that He no longer has it; for He has in His person nothing that He does not need. This, therefore, implies that He is now a spirit being and as such must be physically invisible. Accordingly, His Return must be invisible to mankind's physical eyes.
JESUS NOT ETERNALLY DEGRADED
(f) Our Lord would be eternally degraded in nature had He taken back His humanity when He rose from the dead. That He was lowered in nature, though not in character—when He gave up His prehuman nature (in which He was, as the One next to Father, higher than the angels), in exchange for the human nature, is evident from the Apostle Paul's statement that when Jesus became a human being He was "made a little lower than the angels" (Heb. 2:9; see also John 1:14; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 2:14, 16-18).
If He had taken back His humanity in His resurrection, and would now and to all eternity retain it, He would thereby be everlastingly lower than the angels in nature and thereby be eternally degraded in nature. But such a degradation is untrue, because the Scriptures clearly teach that instead of His now being lower than the angels, He is highly exalted above them (Heb. 1:3-5; Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 5:11-13). Therefore He did not take back His humanity in His resurrection. Accordingly, He must be a spirit being, and therefore invisible to human eyes at His Return.
JESUS DID NOT TAKE BACK THE RANSOM
(g) A seventh consideration proves that our Lord is no longer human, that He did not take again the human nature but received a spirit nature at His resurrection. It is the Ransom doctrine, the basic doctrine of the Bible. The Scriptures teach that He gave up His humanity as our Ransom-price (Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; John 6:51). Had He taken back His humanity, His flesh, when He arose from the dead, He would have taken back the Ransom-price and thus vitiated His entire redemptive work, left us in irretrievable ruin and made the entire Plan of God a failure! Merely to state these inevitable results of taking back the Ransom-price is to demonstrate the falsity of the doctrine that our Lord arose from the dead a human being and the truth of the doctrine that He arose from the dead a spirit being. Therefore He is now and always will be invisible to mankind's physical eyes; and therefore His Return must be invisible to their physical sight.
PERFECTION OF GOD'S CHARACTER A PROOF
(h) An eighth line of thought demonstrates that our Lord at His resurrection did not take again human, but a spirit nature: the perfection of God's character. We showed under the sixth point that if our Lord had at His resurrection taken back His human nature He would forever be degraded in nature, whereas the Scriptures cited under the sixth point prove that instead of His being forever degraded in nature He has been exalted in nature above all angelic natures. Since God raised Him from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34; 17:31; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; Heb. 13:20), if He had resurrected Him in the human nature, He would thereby have degraded Him in nature forever, despite the fact that He had promised with an oath to exalt Him above all other natures, if He would continue faithful unto death, and despite the fact that Jesus had been faithful to the highest degree (Phil. 2:5-8).
Under such conditions to have resurrected our Lord to human nature would have made God violate His oath to Jesus (Gen. 22:16, 17; Gal. 3:16; Heb. 6:17-20), since He promised with an oath to make Him heavenly, spiritual, "as the stars of heaven." God is not a liar (Heb. 6:17, 18); for to be such would violate the perfection of His character. Therefore the perfection of His character forbade His resurrecting Jesus to human nature. On the contrary, the perfection of God's character in harmony with His promise and oath to Jesus, if faithful (which He was), is the best of guarantees that the resurrection of Jesus occurred as that of a spirit being, yes, even in the highest of all spiritual natures, the Divine nature (Eph. 1:20-22; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 1:3-5; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16). Hence Jesus is now a spirit, and as such is and forever will remain invisible to human physical sight, and so must be invisible in His Return.
Before introducing our ninth proof of Jesus' resurrection to a spirit nature, we desire to remark that under proofs (g) and (h) we showed that the doctrine of Christ's resurrection to human nature violates the Ransom doctrine and the doctrine of the perfection of God's character. Any doctrine that does violence to the Ransom or the character of God is thereby proven to be false. These two things, among others, are doctrinal touchstones. Whatever does not adhere to them is thereby proven to contain alloy. Therefore the doctrine of Christ's resurrection to human nature, doing violence to the Ransom doctrine and to the character of God, is false, is an invention of Satan.
JESUS A FULLY DEVELOPED NEW CREATURE
(i) A ninth argument proves that Jesus' resurrection was not to human nature but to a spirit nature: His having passed through the various stages of character development as a New Creature from the begettal to the birth of the Spirit. That His character as a New Creature, a spiritual character, reached perfection the Scriptures assure us (Heb. 2:10; 5:8, 9). So His affections were completely detached from earthly things and attached to heavenly things (Col. 3:1-4).
Accordingly, as a New Creature Jesus had developed a character in which the characteristic of sacrificing the earthly for the heavenly was unbreakably crystallized. This implies that if He had been raised from the dead as a human being, He would forthwith have proceeded to sacrifice His humanity again unto death; for all His aspirations were crystallized in heavenly-mindedness, and thus were unchangeably adverse to the earthly-mindedness of human nature. This crystallized condition of His New Creature character would shortly have put again His humanity completely to death if He had been resurrected a human being; and if resurrected a thousand times as a human being, it would as often put His humanity to death.
In other words, such a process would of necessity have to set in, if one, crystallized in a New Creature character, were raised from the dead a human being. But the Bible teaches us that, "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him" (Rom. 6:9). Therefore He was not raised from the dead as a human being but as a spirit being; and if a spirit being, He is invisible, and therefore in His Second Advent He must be invisible to physical sight.
JESUS' OFFICE AS SAVIOR
(j) A tenth fact proves that Christ was resurrected, not a human, but a spirit being: His office as Savior of the elect now and of the obedient of the world in the Millennial Mediatorial Reign. A human being would be unable to minister to the multitudinous needs of God's children scattered all over the earth, and to checkmate the attempts of Satan, the demons and fallen men against His elect; for only a highly exalted spirit being could do this well. Much less could a human being bind Satan and his fallen angels, destroy Satan's empire and establish God's Kingdom, awaken all the dead, restoring their personality and individual characteristics, and then through a Mediatorial Reign offer them effective help for their restoration to human perfection, and actually work it in all that will obey, not to speak of turning this earth into a paradise.
Only a highly exalted spirit being could do these things, which will constitute the chief features of His ministry to the world of mankind in the Millennial Mediatorial Reign. Therefore His possession of the capacities to fulfill His ministry to the Church now and to the world in the Mediatorial Reign proves that He was raised from the dead, not in human nature, but in a spirit nature. Therefore He is forever invisible to mankind's physical sight, and for this reason His Second Coming must be invisible to their physical sight.
JESUS' OFFICE AS GOD'S VICEGERENT
(k) An eleventh Biblical teaching proves the same thing: Jesus' office as God's Vicegerent. The Bible most clearly teaches that God does all things by Him (1 Cor. 8:6; Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23; Phil. 2:9-11; 3:21; Col. 1:15-19; Heb. 1:3-5; Rev. 5:11-13). This means, of course, that He is Jehovah's Vicegerent throughout the Universe. Self-evidently the duties of such an office cannot be performed by a human. How, to mention but one item among millions, could a human, a being lower than an angel, control the angels, the heavenly principalities, powers, thrones, dominions, cherubim and seraphim? Accordingly, we see from His being Jehovah's Vicegerent that He is no longer a human being but a spirit being, who as such must be invisible to mankind's physical eyes, and who accordingly must be invisible to their physical eyes in His Second Advent.
JESUS' APPEARANCES TO HIS DISCIPLES
(l) As a twelfth and final point in proof of His resurrection as a spirit being and not as a human being, we offer the facts of His various appearances with different bodies to His disciples after His resurrection. To understand His appearances to them in different bodies we must remember several things: (1) the nature of Christ's resurrection body, which we have already proven to be a spirit body and not a human body, and which necessarily implies that it was invisible to the physical sight of His disciples; and (2) the purpose of His appearances, and that in different bodies, which was to prove to them that (a) He was alive from the dead and (b) that none of the bodies that He caused to appear and disappear before them was His resurrection body, which being spiritual was necessarily invisible to them (1 Tim. 6:16). Remembering then that Jesus had the twofold purpose of proving to His disciples He was alive from the dead and that He was changed in nature from a human to a spirit being, we are put into a position to understand clearly the entire account of His appearances in different bodies to the disciples.
The disciples, in harmony with God's Word, believed that the dead are dead and therefore can know and do nothing (Eccles. 9:5, 10; Psa. 6:5; 78:50; 146:4; 1 Cor. 15:13-18). Accordingly, all that Jesus had to do to prove to them that He was alive again was to do something and show that He had knowledge of various things. Thus His simple announcing of Himself as alive, and His actions when He appeared to them, were proofs sufficient to them that He was alive from the dead. Additionally, to convince them that He was changed from the human to a spirit nature, He appeared to them in a variety of bodies, from which they gradually drew the conclusion that none of the bodies that they saw was His real resurrection body, which they, gradually coming to learn was spirit, recognized could not be seen with physical sight. Thus He convinced them quickly that He was alive, and gradually that He was no longer human, but Divine.
Our Lord made these appearances in the same general way that angels in the past had made their appearances to human beings, e.g., to Abraham, Sarah, Lot, Jacob, Gideon, Samson's parents, i.e., by creating or materializing human bodies, for the purpose; for the bodies in which the angels appeared to these persons were not their own bodies, but bodies created on the spot to make the necessary appearances, because these angels, or spirits, had spirit bodies and hence invisible bodies. The fallen angels in spiritistic seances with sinister motives materialize bodies in a similar manner now, pretending that they are our dead friends and relatives. Thus when Jesus appeared to the disciples He created the bodies that He showed them, and when He desired to disappear He simply dissolved those bodies. We know this to be true because He did not appear twice in the same body, at least in the first stages of the various appearances after His resurrection.
Another consideration also proves this thought: the clothes in which Jesus appeared. Where did He get the clothes in which He appeared after His resurrection? We know that the soldiers took His own clothes at the crucifixion (Matt. 27:35), and that at His resurrection He left the grave-clothes in the tomb (John 20:5). Evidently Jesus created the clothes that He wore at these various manifestations, appearing to Mary in the clothing of a gardener, to the two on the way to Emmaus in the garments of a traveler, etc. If He created different clothes for the various appearances, it is of course plain that He did the same with the different bodies that He showed the disciples.
To Mary Magdalene, Jesus first appeared as a gardener, and was not recognized by her until He made some changes in His tones, and probably in the body in which He appeared (John 20:14-18). To the two on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31) He appeared as a stranger and traveler, and according to Mark's testimony, in another form (Mark 16:12). Neither did they recognize Him while He talked with them for several hours, until in the breaking of the bread He probably made some change in His appearance that enabled them to recognize Him, their eyes being previously "holden," because previously He was "in another form."
To the ten Apostles in the upper room Jesus appeared (despite closed and locked doors, which offered no impediment to the entrance of a spirit being—John 3:8; for as such He entered the room) in a form different from the one with which they were familiar; otherwise they could not have taken Him for a spirit (Luke 24:37).
Had they been less excited, the Apostles would not have taken the material body of flesh and bones which they saw to be a spirit, since "a spirit hath not flesh and bones," as they saw the body to have which Jesus showed them—a proof positive of the fact that the body that He showed them was not His resurrection body, but one that He had created for the manifestation after entering the room, since He there said "a spirit hath not flesh and bones," and the Apostle Paul says that in His resurrection He became "a life-giving spirit" (Luke 24:39; 1 Cor. 15:45). Therefore in Jesus' resurrection His body did not have flesh and bones.
And, accordingly, the one He there showed them as having flesh and bones was one created then and there for the purpose of the manifestation and was not His resurrection body. Jesus did not add the word "blood" to the words "flesh and bones" in Luke 24:39, because, while by handling the body that He showed them they could "see"—know—that it had flesh and bones, their handling it would not enable them to "see" that it contained blood.
A week later Jesus similarly appeared to His Apostles, Thomas, who had feared that a swindler was deceiving the other disciples, being present. Jesus gave Thomas the proof of His identity and resurrection that Thomas had requested (John 20:24-27). The fact that again on this occasion Jesus entered the closed room (v. 26) proves that He entered it as a spirit being, after which He created a body of flesh that stood the acid test that Thomas had specified as a proof of His identity.
Again, to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias Jesus appeared in a still different form, and was not recognized by His form at all, but by the miracle that He performed (John 21:4-12). How in harmony with the fact that He was then before them in a totally different form from any they had seen before, is the remark, "None of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord."
This remark evidently implies (1) that the disciples did not recognize Jesus from His form; (2) that the miracle had largely but not fully convinced them that their beloved Master was again in their midst; (3) that in their hearts they felt that the miracle should have been considered by them as a strong enough evidence to their faith that it was He, for which reason they were ashamed to ask for a verbal statement of His identity, though they desired for full conviction such an assurance; and (4) that such a desire would not have been cherished by them had He appeared in His old familiar form. Moreover, the doubts in Galilee of some of the 500 disciples (others than the eleven Apostles, who had been convinced before leaving Jerusalem for Galilee) can be accounted for on no other ground than that to them He appeared in an unfamiliar form (Matt. 28:16, 17).
The facts that we have cited respecting Jesus' appearances to His disciples between His resurrection and ascension all prove that Jesus arose from the dead, not a human but a spirit being. They also prove that He created various bodies to prove to them that He was alive from the dead, and was changed from human nature to a spirit nature, and had none of the bodies that He showed to them as His glorious resurrection body.
JESUS' APPEARANCE TO SAUL OF TARSUS
Another post-resurrection appearance of our Lord worthy of our attention here, is His appearance to Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus. While Saul—the Apostle Paul—did not see our Lord's actual glorified body, which sight would have killed him (1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 1:3; Ex. 33:20), yet he saw a representation of that body, for which reason he could say that he saw the Lord—he saw the glory light that is inherent in and that shone out of that body; but so powerful was this light that before his eyes could penetrate through it to the body from which it shone, he was struck blind by its brightness (Acts 9:1-18).
Here, as it were, the veil that hid the glory of Jesus' resurrection body was partly withdrawn, and we receive a faint idea of its glory as "the glory that excelleth," and also here see final proof of the fact that Jesus did not show His disciples His resurrection body before His ascension, as well as of our Lord's wisdom in not showing even that much of "the glory that excelleth" to the disciples after His resurrection and before His ascension.
We conclude our brief study of the resurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples, including the Apostle Paul, with the remark that they completely demonstrate three things: (1) none of the bodies that Jesus showed the disciples between His resurrection and ascension was His resurrection body, but they were variously created in harmony with the needs of the occasions on which they were made; (2) Jesus did not arise from the dead in the body that was crucified on the cross, or in any other human body; and (3) Jesus arose from the dead in a spirit body more glorious than the brightness of the sun at midday, a body of the Divine nature, according to passages quoted above. Therefore we are not to expect the Lord to come in the flesh. He comes not as He was before His death, but "as he is" now since His resurrection, of which the Apostle John, who saw several of His appearances after His resurrection and before His ascension, said over 60 years later, "It doth not yet appear what we [the Elect Church] shall be, but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is," not as He was (1 John 3:2).
We have now presented the tenth, the basic proof for the invisibility of our Lord's Return: Jesus since His resurrection is no longer a human, but is a spirit being, and that of the highest order, the Divine nature. This basic proof we have just demonstrated from twelve standpoints to be Scriptural. To be saved from many delusions and to be prepared to do well our part in the Divine Plan of the Ages, which is now at a most important stage, it is especially just now of greatest necessity to see clearly the Lord's mind on the subject, as given above from the Bible; for in our day the Ransom-sacrifice of Jesus is the rock of offense and the manner of our Lord's Second Presence is the stone of stumbling; just as they were when Jesus was here in His First Advent. And "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear"!
The Manner of Our Lord's Return:
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