Deists believe in God but believe God is not involved with His creation. Scripture reveals the appearance of God in the realm of man many times, as the Word, the Eternal, Melchizedek, and as Jesus the Christ.
A study of history will show us there were many different kinds of believers in God. One of those kinds of believers are deists who believe that God kind of got things going but, He has a hands- off approach… so whatever happens, happens. They are still believers in God and the creation, but believe that God doesn't particularly involve himself in the lives of men. Today I want to speak on the many appearances of Jesus Christ. For years I've heard about the second coming of Christ and I've always wondered about that. What do they mean ' second coming'? That would be like putting numbers on things, but Christ showed up quite a bit throughout history. I was puzzled by that so I started looking in the Bible to see if I could find a number of instances where Jesus Christ showed up on the scene and perhaps put a number on it. So today I have seventeen points, no lie and if I take five minutes for each point, we'll be here for a while. So I'm hopeful we won't go quite that long.
I was quite shocked to read John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
American King James Version×when I was young in the church. John 1:1-4 John 1:1-4  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
American King James Version×"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In him was life and the life was the light of man." This is remarkable. The same One was in the beginning with God and all things were made by him, but we know that Jesus Christ is the Word of God; so this means He was there at the beginning and He was the Creator. In Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
American King James Version×we see a discussion of the creation of the world. Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
American King James Version×"And God said let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea over the fowl of the air over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Verse 27 "So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them, male and female He created them and God blessed them and God said, 'Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth'." It is intriguing that in Verse 26 God says, "Let US make man in our image." Who is that US? If we take a look at the original word, it is Elohim… speaking of the God family, composed now of God the Father and God the Son who is Jesus Christ the Creator. So we have ' US' and 'OUR' who are directing the creation of the earth and mankind.
Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
American King James Version×"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being." Verse 8 "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there He put the man whom He had formed and out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Verse 10 "A river went out of Eden to water it.." Verse 15 "And the Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it." That's a responsibility that he gave to man. "The Lord God commanded man, 'of every tree you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for the day you eat of it, you shall surely die." Who is the Lord God that is speaking to these people? We have the Lord God creating man and blowing the breath of life into him, so I'd say this is the FIRST appearance. Then we have the Garden of Eden created and mankind was put there. We have a quote by the Lord, which is another appearing of the one who became Jesus Christ, who is giving man instruction about what he should or should not partake of. Verse 18 "It is not good that man should be alone, I will make a helper comparable to him." Verse 21 "The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place." Verse 22 "And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man." So now we have this SECOND opportunity to see Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, on the scene. Verse 23 "And the man said,
"This is now bone of my bones,
and flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken
out of Man."
Verse 24 "Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." So we have this directing to man of what he should do and also what he should and shouldn't eat. Genesis 3:1 Genesis 3:1Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
American King James Version×"Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden"?" The serpent beguiled Eve so she willingly went along with the serpent then Adam willingly went along with Eve and the serpent. Verse 9 "then the Lord God called out to Adam, and said, 'Where are you?'" Verse 10 "And he said, 'I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.'" Verse 10 "And He said, 'Who told you that you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?'" Then Adam goes through his 'song and dance', his explanation of why he did what he did. So you have the God of the Old Testament speaking directly to Adam and Eve about that temptation and He thrust them outside the garden.
Once they were outside the Garden of Eden, did God have a deist approach, a 'hands-off' approach? Genesis 4:1 Genesis 4:1And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
American King James Version×"Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, 'I have gotten a man from the Lord.'" Then we go on to when the boys are grown, Cain and Abel. Verse 8 "And Cain talked to Abel his brother. And it came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him." We again see the Lord of the Old Testament on the scene, whom we learned in John 1 is Jesus Christ. Verse 9 "And the Lord said to Cain, ’Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I don't know, am I my brother's keeper?’” Verse 10 "And He said, "What have you done, the voice of your brother's blood cries to me from the ground." And that's when the curse of Cain was placed upon him and he was sent away lest retribution be taken upon him. Verse 15 "And the Lord said to him, 'Whoever shall slay Cain, vengeance shall be taken upon him seven- fold.'" And the Lord placed a mark upon him lest any finding him should kill him." Verse 16 "So Cain went out from the presence of the Eternal and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden." This is another direct interaction between God and man.
Genesis 6:1 Genesis 6:1And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them,
American King James Version×"And it came to pass that when the men began to multiply on the face of the earth, daughters were born to them," Verse 3 "The Lord said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for he is flesh and his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." In other words, something is going to happen down the road. Verse 5 "And God saw the wickedness of man was great and every imagination of the thoughts in his heart was only evil continually." Verse 6 "And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth and it grieved him in his heart." Verse 7 "And the Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, for I am sorry that I have made them.'" Verse 8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Noah found grace because he was obeying God. Verse 13 "Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before me. The earth is filled with violence through them." Verse 14 "Behold! I will destroy them with the earth." God saved Noah and his family and instructed him how to make an ark. This was another intervention, another appearance of God, the One who became Christ. At each step of the way, God is intervening.
Genesis 7:1-5 Genesis 7:1-5  And the LORD said to Noah, Come you and all your house into the ark; for you have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
 Of every clean beast you shall take to you by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive on the face of all the earth.
 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
 And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.
American King James Version×"And the Lord said to Noah, "Come, you and all your household into the ark, for you I have seen righteous before me in this generation. Verse 2 "You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female, Verse 3:" also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. Verse 4 "For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made. Verse 5 "And Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him." Who was this One commanding Noah? We know from John 1 that it was Jesus Christ.
Genesis 8:1 Genesis 8:1And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;
American King James Version×"And God remembered Noah and every living thing; and God made a wind to pass over the earth and the waters assuaged." So, after the flood the waters went down. Verse 15: "And God spoke to Noah saying, Verse 16 "Go forth from the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons' wives with you." Verse 17 "And bring forth every living thing that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth." We see here that God is giving further instructions to the humans that are left alive.
Genesis 9:1 Genesis 9:1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
American King James Version×"And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth"." There had been a lot of people before the flood and now God wanted them to fill it again and replenish the earth. If we read on we will find the covenant God made with Noah. Verse 9: "I will establish my covenant with you" Verse 11: "…never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, neither again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." Verse 12: "And God said," This is a token of the covenant, which I make between you and me and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. Verse 13: "I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Verse 14: "And it shall come to pass that when I bring a cloud over the earth and the bow shall be seen in the clouds," Verse 15: "And I will remember my covenant which is between you and me and every living creature of all flesh, that the water shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. Verse 16: "And the bow shall be in the cloud and I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." Verse 17: "And God said to Noah, 'This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh upon the earth.'" So, now you have this direct conversation that God has had with Noah… to build the ark, to save mankind, to save the clean and unclean animals, and that they should replenish the earth afterward. We also see God setting up the rainbow as a reminder of God's covenant. We can see the sign of God's covenant, because we have all seen the rainbow. What this tells us is that there wasn't a rainbow prior to that time because the physical conditions did not exist to allow a rainbow to occur. Before that, as we Genesis says earlier, a mist came up to water the land.
Genesis 11:1 Genesis 11:1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
American King James Version×"And the whole earth was of one language and one speech. Verse 2: "And it came to pass as they journeyed from the east, they found a place on a plain in the land of Shinar and they dwelt there." We know this is the story of the tower of Babel. Verse 3: "And they said to one another 'Let's go make brick and burn them thoroughly' and they had brick for stone and they used tar for mortar." Verse 4: "And they said, 'Go to, let us build a city and a tower whose top may reach the heaven, and let us make a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'" Verse 5: "And the lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men built." Verse 6: "And the Lord said, 'Behold, the people are one and one language. And this is what they begin to do, and now nothing will be restrained from them in which they have imagined to do.'" So, interestingly enough now we see US again. Verse 7: "Let Us go down there and confound their language that they may not understand one another's speech." We're talking about the God family in discussion here, which includes the One who became Jesus Christ. Verse 8: "So the Lord scattered them abroad from there upon the face of the earth; and they all left off from their building." You have the scattering that occurred because the languages were confounded and they couldn't work together. Presumably they regrouped by the people who could speak the same language. This is another direct intervention by the Lord at the tower of Babel.
We should be getting the theme that God has been extraordinarily involved with men in the first few thousand years of mankind's existence.
Genesis 12:1-3 Genesis 12:1-3  Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you:
 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:
 And I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.
American King James Version×"Now the Lord said to Abram,
"Get you out of your country,
And from your kindred
And from your father's house,
Unto a land that I will show you;
And I will make of you a
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those that bless you,
And curse those that curse you.
And in you shall all the families of the earth
You have Abram being spoken to by the Lord saying what he needed to do. Again we have a direct action by the Lord God to Abram, who later became called Abraham. Abram left with his nephew Lot; Abram's brother (Lot's father) had died. Abram had charge of his younger relative, Lot, so he went with Abram. Presumably Lot would have inherited his father's estate, but Abram was his guardian. At some point Abram went to Egypt while there was a famine in the land.
Genesis 13:1-3 Genesis 13:1-3  And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;
American King James Version×"And Abram went up out of Egypt, and he and his wife and all he had and Lot with him into the south. Abram was very rich in cattle and in silver and in gold." This is not a poor man. I don't know about you but I'm not rich. I do have some livestock, but the last time I counted my silver and gold it was not anything to brag about. But, Abram was a man of means, significant means. Verse 3: "And he went on the journey to the south to Bethel and to the place where his tent had been in the beginning." In verse 5 we see that Lot is still with Abram. Verse 6: "And the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell together for their substance was great." Verse 7: "And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle.." There were others also living in the land, the Canaanite and the Perizzite. Abram went to Lot to resolve the problem because he didn't want any controversy with his nephew. Abram gave Lot the choice of which land to take. Verse 11: "Lot chose him all the plain of the Jordan and Lot journeyed east, thus they separated themselves from one another." Verse 12: "Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom." So, now Abram and Lot are separated. Verse 14: "And the Lord said to Abram after Lot had separated from him, 'Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward for all the land which you see, to you I will give it, to you and to your seed forever.'" Verse 16: "And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then so shall your seed also be numbered." Verse 17: 'Arise, walk through the land to the length of it and the breadth of it and I will give it to you.'" That's a pretty significant promise. I don't know if any of you have had God speak to you and make such a promise as to make your descendants numbered as the dust of the earth and as high as can be counted. This was a direct promise to Abram from God.
Genesis 14:1 Genesis 14:1And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
American King James Version×"And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim," Verse 2: "that there was a war between Bera king of Sodom, and Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (which is Zoar)." Verse 3: "And these were joined together in the valley of Siddim (that is the Salt Sea)." Verse 4: "Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled." These were all local kings who were subservient to a greater emperor somewhere. Verse 11: "Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and their victuals and went their way." Verse 12: "And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son who dwelt in Sodom and his goods and departed." We read earlier that Lot was quite wealthy-- he had gold, silver and livestock and presumably all the comforts of life that were available at that time. Verse 13: "And one escaped and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre, the brother of Eschol, these were confederate with Abram." Abram had peace with those dwelling in the areas around him. Verse 14: "And when Abram heard his relative was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen and pursued them unto Dan." Some translations say the 318 men with Abram were on horses. I dare say that if you had 318 horsemen in the United States somewhere, they'd be a fearsome foe to come up against. Verse 15: "And Abram divided himself against the enemy, and he and his servants by night defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, which is north of Damascus." That's a long way; I didn't calculate the miles, but it could be hundreds. Verse 16: "And he brought back all of the goods and his nephew Lot with all his goods and also the women, and the people." Why does it say the women and not the men? Who do you think they killed when they fought the battles? There would have been a lot of widows and orphans as a result of this war. It was common that the men would be killed and the women and children captured.. but for some reason Lot was left alive. Verse 17: "Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram at the valley of Shavah (that is, the King's Valley). Verse 18: "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; he was a priest of the God Most High." He wasn't the priest of God, but of the MOST HIGH GOD. Verse 19: "And he blessed him and said,
'Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth,
And blessed be the Most High God,
Who has delivered your enemies
into your hand."
And he gave him a tenth of all.'"
The question is, then, “Who is this Melchizedek?” What triggered my comments today is a fellow I know, John May, up in the Chicago congregation who spoke about Melchizedek and I thought, "We haven't covered that subject in a while." Melchizedek is mentioned in Genesis 14 and also in Psalm 10 and in the book of Hebrews. The church has long taught that Melchizedek was the same individual who would later be born as Jesus Christ. If you type his name in on your computer, you'll find that isn't the most common or prevalent answer of who people think Melchizedek is. It can be tempting to be drawn in by the arguments that contradict the church's historical teaching on this topic. So, I want to examine for a bit: who was Melchizedek? In order to review why we believe this person is the same one as the Logos, the Word of God, who was later born in human form as Jesus Christ we must start in Genesis 9:26 Genesis 9:26And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
American King James Version×"And he (Noah) said, 'blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem and may Canaan be his servant.'" Here Noah clearly indicates that his son Shem has continued to worship the true God and since he is the only one mentioned as doing so from Noah to Abraham, the majority of Jewish scholars identify Melchizedek as being Shem, the son of Noah and even the Babylonian Talmud makes this assertion. If you go on the internet, you will find the Jewish approach to the question. Some Catholic and Protestant scholars also accept this conclusion. But how could Shem, a survivor of the flood, still be alive during the lifetime of Abraham? In Genesis 11 we can see that Shem lived 502 years after the flood. Abram was born about 292 years after the flood and he died about 467 years after the flood; so if you do the math, Shem outlived Abram by about 35 years. How many of us have our fifth or sixth grandfather outliving us? You can see why some would have concluded that Shem might be that mysterious person Melchizedek who came to bless Abram. There is no scriptural evidence that Shem was living where Melchizedek was or if he remained a faithful worshiper of God in his old age. He isn't listed in the faith chapter, Hebrews 11. If he were the king of righteousness, it would seem to be an awkward omission.
Genesis 14;16 "So he brought back all the goods and brought back his nephew Lot and his goods as well as the women and the people." Verse 17: "Then the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh, that is the king's valley after his defeat of the king Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him." Verse 18: "Then Melchizedek was the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and he brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of the God Most High." (The word 'was' is not, I believe in the original Hebrew.) Verse 19-20:"And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, And blessed be the Most High God, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.' And he gave him a tenth of all." This individual shows up who has never been mentioned before, and yet Abram seems to know who he is. Abram willingly receives his blessing and pays a tithe to him. Had Melchizedek represented some false god, Abram certainly would not have paid God's tithes to him so Abram must have known this individual previously and well enough to know he was truly a representative of God Most High, El Elyon, the Supreme God. If all we had to go by was this account, it would be difficult to conclude this person was someone other than just a human king and priest.
It was common for the kings of the Middle East at that time to identify themselves as priests also. Even in Egypt the Pharaoh was not only king but the supreme priest of Egypt. It would not have been uncommon for Melchizedek to be holding these dual roles. God's people are described in the book of Revelation as ruling as kings and priests (Revelation 1:6 Revelation 1:6And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
American King James Version×and Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×).
Psalms 110:1-4 Psalms 110:1-4  The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.
 The LORD shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion: rule you in the middle of your enemies.
 Your people shall be willing in the day of your power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: you have the dew of your youth.
 The LORD has sworn, and will not repent, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
American King James Version×A psalm of David "The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool". Verse 2: "The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion, saying, "Rise in the midst of thy enemies." Verse 3: "Your people shall be volunteers in the day of your power; the beauty of holiness in the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your earth." Verse 4: "The Lord has sworn and will not relent, Thou are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." The words David is recording here, are the prophecy of Christ. God the Father is the Lord here and David's Lord is Christ; David states that his Lord will rule in the future in the day of his power, but already is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Christ, like Melchizedek holds the dual role of king and priest. It is David who identifies some sort of a connection between Melchizedek and Christ. We must go to the New Testament to see where the link is between these two.
Hebrews 7:1 Hebrews 7:1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
American King James Version×"For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him." Verse 2: "To whom also Abraham also gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness" and then also "king of Salem", meaning king of peace." Verse 3: "Without father, without mother, without genealogy having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God remains a priest continually." The writer of Hebrews, who was probably the apostle Paul, was inspired to reveal these additional details about Melchizedek, details not found in the Old Testament, but revealed here for the benefit of the church. The writer of Hebrews called Melchizedek as like the Son of God because at the time Melchizedek ruled Salem, he had not yet been born into the world as a human baby. He resembled who he would become but wasn't yet. Could this have been Shem? Shem had a father, Noah; Shem had a mother, he had descendants; he was born and he died. Even if Shem had been a priest (he's never called one in scripture), his priesthood would have ended with his death 502 years after the flood. No human being could meet the characteristics as described here. Further no human would have been described as 'the king of righteousness' or 'the king of peace'. These are titles reserved for God; even an angel would not qualify for Melchizedek's identity because angels are created beings with a beginning. Hebrews 7:4 Hebrews 7:4Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
American King James Version×"Now consider how great to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils," ( In the Greek the words "man" and 'was" do not appear in this verse.) Verse 5: "And indeed those who are the sons of Levi who received the priesthood, who have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is from their brethren, are come from the loins of Abraham." Verse 6: "But he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from him and blessed him who had the promises." Verse 7: "Now beyond all contradiction, the lesser is blessed by the better." Verse 8: "The mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them of whom it is witnessed that he lives." In other words, the implication here is that the one who received the tithes is not a mortal man. Verse 9: "And so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes," Verse 10: "for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him." Verse 11: "If perfection were through the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there for another priest who is not of Levi that should arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron." Verse 12: "For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of the law also." Verse 13: "For whom of these things are spoken belong to another tribe from which no man has officiated at the altar." You have this development because Jesus Christ came out from the tribe of Judah not Levi. Verse 14: "For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests," Verse 17: "For it is witnessed of Him, 'THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.'" The United Church of God continues to teach that the one known to Abram as Melchizedek could not have been a human being, but was actually the One who would be born as Jesus Christ. If we research this and understand, we won't be lead astray by diverse theories or blown about by winds of doctrine in conversation or cyber space. Melchizedek is another appearance of the one who became Jesus Christ.
Genesis 15:1 Genesis 15:1After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.
American King James Version×"After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, 'Fear not Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward."' Abram at this point doesn't see how God is going to make all of the great promises happen because he is still childless, he wonders if it will be fulfilled through his servant. Verse 18: "In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram saying, 'Unto your seed have I given this land from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates;' Verse 19: 'the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite, Verse 20: 'and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim' Verse 21: 'and the Amorite and the Caananite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.'" This was a physical promise of land, spoken by the God of the Old Testament to Abram in a vision.
Genesis 17:1 Genesis 17:1And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect.
American King James Version×"When Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be perfect." Verse 2 "And I will make my covenant between me and you and will multiply you exceedingly."' The last time I looked in the dictionary, exceedingly is a lot; it's more than the gold or silver or livestock that I have for sure. Verse 3: "And Abram fell on his face and God talked with him saying," Verse 4: 'As for Me, behold my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.'" Notice, not just many children, but many NATIONS! Verse 5: "Neither shall your name anymore be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations I have made you. Verse 6: "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, I will make nations of you and kings shall come out of you." Verse 7: "And I will establish my covenant between you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed forever." Verse 8: "And I will give to you and your seed after you, the land where you were a stranger, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession and I will be their God." Verse 9: "And God said to Abraham, 'You shall keep my covenant, you and your seed after you in their generations.'" This is a pretty significant development here where the God of the Old Testament, the Creator, the One who was to become Jesus Christ is speaking directly to Abraham and making a covenant with him; with not just a physical promise for him, but a promise for the future for all of his descendants, of which we are and future inheritors.
Genesis 18:1 Genesis 18:1And the LORD appeared to him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
American King James Version×"And the Lord appeared to him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day." Verse 2: "And he lifted up his eyes" We can read on in this chapter where there is a promise that Isaac is to be born of Sarah. This is a direct intervention of God. She was already old and we can see in verse 12 that Sarah laughed, and of course Isaac means laughter. I'm sure a lot of women whether here or who in the future hear my voice would laugh if God told them they would have a child, and many men would cry.
This next appearance of God to Abraham has to do with Sodom. Sodom was well known to be particularly evil. Genesis 18:16 Genesis 18:16And the men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
American King James Version×"Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off." Verse 17: "Then the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?" There's a discussion in the God family about what to tell Abraham. Verse 18: "since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation and all of the nations of the earth will be blessed in him?" Verse 20: "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grievous" Verse 21: "I will go down now and see if they have done in accordance to the cry that has come to me; and if not, I will know." Verse 22: "And the men turned their faces from that point and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood before the Lord." Verse 23: "And Abraham drew near and asked, "Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked?"' Abraham knew his nephew Lot was in Sodom and his family. Abraham was concerned about Lot and thought God certainly wouldn't destroy him. So Abraham is now having a discussion with the God of the Old Testament, bargaining with him. Verse 24: "Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the city, will you destroy and not spare the city for fifty righteous that are therein?" Verse 25: "Far be it from You after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous be as the wicked. Be that far from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Abraham recognized the God of the Old Testament as being the God of all the earth. Verse 26: "So the Lord said, 'If I find fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the place for their sake.'" Verse 27: "And Abraham said, 'I have taken it upon me to speak to the Lord although I am but dust and ashes.'" Abraham knew he wasn't anything but dust, he knew God had made Adam out of the dust of the earth. We're all made of what we eat; the vegetables and livestock come from the earth and we are of the earth, of dust to which we'll return. Abraham was saying basically that he was nothing compared to the Creator and was humble in saying he was no one to be asking such things of the Creator, but he still asked out of concern for Lot and the people. Verse 28: "Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the city because of five?" And He said, 'If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy it.'" Verse 20: "Peradventure there be forty found there?" And He said, 'I will not do it for the sake of forty.'" Verse 30: "And Abraham said, Oh let the Lord not be angry and I will speak; suppose thirty are found there?" And He said, "I will not do it if thirty are there." If your kids ever come to you and they ask the same question over and over again; after how many times of the same question do you tend to get a little irritated? I plead guilty to being human. Abraham, I suspect had the same mindset that if his child or a servant had said the same thing over and over and was bargaining him down that it would become somewhat irritating. That's why he asks God not to be angry. Abraham knew he was really stepping out of bounds, but he still spoke. Abraham kept bargaining even though he knew he was going out on a limb and stretching beyond good sense; he was that concerned. Verse 31: "Peradventure there shall be twenty found there?" And the Lord said, 'I will not destroy it for twenties' sake.'" Yet again Abraham speaks. Verse 32: "Oh, let not the Lord be angry and I will speak just this once; peradventure ten shall be found there?" And He said, 'I will not destroy it for ten's sake.'" Verse 33: "And the Lord went away and as soon as He left communing with Abraham; Abraham went to his place." Why didn't Abraham bargain him down more? Why did he quit at ten? He probably figured that ought to cover it. He was probably counting Lot and his children and thinking the place should be spared. He hadn't seemed so certain until he got down to ten. He either thought he had reached the limit or thought his family would be spared.
Example 13, if you're keeping track, is the case of Moses. There are far more examples of God's direct interaction with man than I have listed; I know I will miss many of them because God has been very active with many throughout thousands of years. I just wanted to punctuate it with these examples I'm giving. God had a very close relationship with Moses over a long period of time. It was through Moses that the Ten Commandments were chiseled in stone. Exodus 24:13 Exodus 24:13And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
American King James Version×"The Lord said to Moses, 'Come up to me on the mountain and remain there and I will give you tablets of stone and the law and commandments which I have written that you may teach them.'" This is something we need PUT IN STONE! We need this to be taught so that people don't waffle around. They've been having their problems; they don't remember when the Sabbath is; there are problems between people because they don't keep the laws that cause good human relationships, so God gave these laws IN STONE! Exodus 31:18 Exodus 31:18And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him on mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
American King James Version×"And when he had made an end of speaking with him on the mountain, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone written WITH THE FINGER OF GOD. Exodus 32:15 Exodus 32:15And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
American King James Version×"And Moses went down from the mountain and the two tablets of the testimony were in his hand and the tablets were written on both sides. On the one side and the other side they were written." Verse 16: "And the tablets were the work of God, the writing was the writing of God engraved upon the tablets." I presume some of you have seen the movie "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" where you have Indiana Jones searching for the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments that had been placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Verse 19: "As soon as he came near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing;" The children of Israel had grown impatient waiting for Moses to come down off the mountain and had put all their golden jewelry together and made a golden calf to worship; they wanted something they could see to worship. Moses had just gone through all this time on the mountain with God and had been fasting all this time and was witness to the effect of what power God has and then he comes down and sees them with the golden calf dancing and worshiping it. Verse 19: "And Moses' anger became hot and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain." I suppose if we were in that circumstance, we would act similarly to Moses; we'd be totally exasperated. Moses and God had done so much for these people who had been slaves, who were now being blessed because of the covenant with Abraham and yet they keep wandering away from God. God isn't happy that the people don't have the tablets, so He makes the opportunity for them to be done again. Exodus 34:1 Exodus 34:1And the LORD said to Moses, Hew you two tables of stone like to the first: and I will write on these tables the words that were in the first tables, which you brake.
American King James Version×"
And the Lord said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones and I will write on these tablets the words which were on the first tablets that you broke."' In other words, 'We're going to do this again, we're not done.' How many times has God given us a clue that we're going to have to go back and do something again? That seems to be the story of life… if we don't get it right, we're going to have to go back and do it again. Verse 4: "So he cut two tablets of stone like the first ones; Moses rose up early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai as the Lord had commanded him and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone." It appears that Moses had to make the blank tablets for himself this time before God wrote the Commandments on them. Exodus 34:28 Exodus 34:28And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote on the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
American King James Version×"So there he was with the Lord forty days and forty nights and neither ate nor drank water. And God wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." Verse 29: "And so it was when Moses came down from the mountain, the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hands and he came down from the mountain and Moses did not know the skin of his face shone when he talked to Him."
Now let's go to appearance number 14 in the gospels; the entire books of the gospels are about Christ's appearance from when He was born to Mary, the betrothed of Joseph. We have four parallel accounts in the gospels that can be put together and learn about the life of Christ. We can start with Matthew 1 and work our way through. The gospels show the appearance of Christ, his early life and his ministry before his crucifixion and a number of appearances after his resurrection. Acts 1:3 Acts 1:3To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
American King James Version×"To whom also He showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days and speaking to them things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." So the writer of Acts is explaining that Jesus Christ was around for forty days after his resurrection; and not by occasional sightings, but because of the constant exposure He gave many infallible proofs of who He was. Let's go through a few. This is appearance number 15 in my notes. John 20:1 John 20:1The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulcher, and sees the stone taken away from the sepulcher.
American King James Version×"The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene when it was yet dark to the sepulcher" Christ had already risen by this time… while it was still dark on the first day of the week, and Mary Magdalene was pretty upset; she thought someone had stolen his body. Verse 2: "And she ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loves and said to them, 'They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher and we don't know where they have laid him.'" She just assumed someone had laid him somewhere else. It hadn't sunk in yet that He had been resurrected." Verse 13: "And the two angels said to her, "Woman why are you weeping?" She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’” Verse 15: "And Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why do you weep? Who do you seek?'" Verse 16: "Jesus said to her, "Mary" and she turned herself and said, "Rabbi" (which means master)." She finally recognized him. Verse 17: "Jesus said, ‘Don't touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father;’" Verse 18: "Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples she had seen the Lord and He had spoken these things to her." Now they're all getting together because this is BIG NEWS! This isn't an everyday happening! Verse 19:" They all came together and the doors were shut, the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews" (They didn't want to get slaughtered as they had seen Christ crucified.) "and came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." (He appeared in their midst even though the doors were shut.) Verse 20: "And when He had said this, He showed them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." They recognized him and realized it really was him! Verse 24: "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came." Verse 25: "The other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said unless I shall see in his hands the imprint of nails and put my hand into the imprint of nails and thrust my hand into his side, I won't believe." (I presume it doesn't say here that he was from Missouri, but we might infer that because he had to be shown.) Verse 27: "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here your finger and behold my hands and be not faithless, but believing.'" Verse 28: "Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God." So this was an occasion where Jesus spent time with the disciples.
John 21:1 John 21:1After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.
American King James Version×"After these things, Jesus showed himself to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias" The first fourteen verses of this chapter show that Jesus showed himself to them, He ate fish with them and He told them about the opportunity to be fishers of men. Verse 25: "And there were also many other things which Jesus did to which if they should be written, everyone, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books which should be written." That is an extraordinarily busy life. They won't be writing that about me, it will be a much shorter book. They were amazed at how much Jesus Christ was involved in; He was a very busy person.
We have a fellow by the name of Saul, who went on the road to Damascus. And on the road to Damascus, he was blinded for days. He went to the home of Ananias where he was anointed (Acts 9) and baptized and became the apostle Paul. It was hard for people to believe that this former persecutor of Christians could be converted. They thought it was some kind of a trick because Paul had consented to the death of some Christians, including Stephen, the deacon. (Acts 6).
Galatians 1:11 Galatians 1:11But I certify you, brothers, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
American King James Version×"But I certify, you brethren that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man." Verse 12: "For neither I received it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Verse 13: "For you have heard of my conversion in times past in the Jews' religion that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God and wasted it;" Verse 14: "And profited in the Jews' religion that above many, my equals in my own nation, being exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers." Verse 15: "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by his grace" Verse 16: "To reveal his Son in me that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood;" Verse 17: "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus." Verse 18: "Then after three years, I went to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him fifteen days." Verse 19: "But of the other apostles, I saw none save for James, the Lord's brother." Saul was converted and became known as Paul; he was taught not by man, but directly by the revelation of Jesus Christ in Arabia for three years. It's hard to imagine, but Christ taught Paul what he needed to know to be a very effective disciple and then an apostle. So, there had to be direct revelation to Paul from Jesus Christ.
There is the opportunity for us all to see Jesus Christ. Acts 1:1 Acts 1:1The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
American King James Version×"The former treatise have I made, Theophilus of all that Jesus began to both do and teach," Verse 2: "until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Spirit has given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen." Verse 3: "To whom He showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, seen of them forty days, speaking to them of things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." Verse 4: "And being assembled with them together; commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father, which says He, 'You have heard of from Me.'" Verse 5: "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit in not many days hence." Verse 6: "For when they came together they asked of him, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?'" Verse 7: "And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in his own power;' Verse 8: 'But you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem and all Judea and all Samaria and to the uttermost part of the earth.'" (This is talking about you and me also receiving God's Spirit and being witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth.) Verse 9: "And when He had spoken these things, behold a cloud received him out of their sight." Verse 10: "And when they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel;" Verse 11: "who also said, 'You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into the heavens? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall also come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.'"
Jesus Christ will become apparent to everyone; it will not be a hidden thing. He will come again as He left before. He has had an ongoing relationship with mankind since before the creation, and has been involved in the lives of man throughout history; manifesting himself as Jesus Christ about 2000 years ago and has been involved with man and the expectations of man, and with the expectations for his Church. He has set out a path for us that his laws are so important and so valuable that He didn't just say them; He put them in stone twice. Then He reminded all of his people through the ages of the importance of the commands of God.
I wanted to review the many appearances of Jesus Christ, but knowing that there are more than the eighteen I listed today as we read through the Word of God.