The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"On The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast, you said that Melchizedek was the one who became Jesus Christ. I thought Christ appeared for the first time when He was born of Mary. Wouldn't that mean Jesus Christ was present twice on earth already and the next time would be appearance number three?" B.D., Alabama
Jesus Christ took upon Himself the nature of man once and once only in all history. That was when born of the virgin Mary. That the Bible describes as His first coming to dwell among men. Hebrews 2:14-16 explains it. "Forasmuch then as the children [human beings] are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.... For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Christ was born into human flesh once only to die for human kind. He was not born with the nature of angels. He did not come to die for angels. Angels are composed of spirit, not flesh and blood. Christ died for mankind. He therefore took upon Himself the nature of mankind-flesh and blood-so that He could give His life for the sins of the world. Now consider Hebrews 9:26-28: ...but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." That was His first coming, when born flesh and blood of the virgin Mary. Continuing: "... So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." There you have it. The first time He came to pay for sin, to offer Himself once for all time. The second time He will come to dwell among men He will not be composed of flesh and blood, but of Spirit. The second time He will not come to pay for sin, but to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth! Thus Scripture reveals Christ has come once and will come again to dwell among men. The first time as flesh and blood; the second, composed of Spirit-immortal, life-giving Spirit. Now consider this. After Christ rose from the dead-after His first coming, Christ appeared on more than one occasion to the apostle Paul (Acts 9 and Galatians 1:12). But that did not mean He has come the second time, or a third. On these occasions He did not come to dwell among men, but appeared only briefly to reveal messages from the Father in Heaven. The same is true of the Old Testament appearances of the One who became Jesus. The God of the Old Testament-the One who appeared to the patriarchs and prophets-was not the Father, but the One who became Jesus Christ. Your Bible says: "No man hath seen God [that is, the Father] at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" (John 1:18). See also I Timothy 6:16. The Word, the Spokesman of the God Family, appeared time and time again to our first parents, and to the patriarchs and prophets to reveal the Father's wilt. They did not see the Father. They saw only the One who became the Son. On none of these occasions did Christ come to dwell among man for year after year, as He did at His first coming. On none of these occasions was He composed of flesh and blood. He manifested Himself in human form, but not as human flesh and blood. He could appear and disappear suddenly! When He appeared as Melchizedek, He manifested Himself in human form. But He was not composed of flesh and blood. Abraham saw the One who became Jesus Christ walking on earth in the form of a man (Gen. 18:1, 2). As a Spirit Being, He could appear in the form of a man just as angels do (compare verses 2, 16-17, 22 with 19:1). Later, He wrestled with Jacob (Gen. 32:24-30), and escorted the children of Israel through the desert all the way from Egypt (Ex. 3:6; 14:24). That Christ is Melchizedek you will find thoroughly explained in Mr. Armstrong's article "Who Was Melchizedek?" Write for it. And also a companion article "Is Jesus God?" It makes the identity of Jesus Christ plain.