The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).


Christ’s Appearances and Their Effects
By Al Stoner

“Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26). “Christ is” entered “into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (v. 24). “Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (v. 28). Wherever Jesus has appeared and shall appear, there are exceedingly blessed effects being wrought in the behalf of redeemed personalities. All of these effects are integral to the eternal purpose which God has purposed in Christ Jesus (cf. Eph. 3:10-11).
As can be seen from the paragraph above, there are three significant appearances of Christ mentioned in the Hebrews 9 text and all three are viewed by the Apostle as having an absolutely indispensable bearing on the salvation of men. Two of the appearances occur on earth, and one is occurring before the Father in Heaven. One appearance has already been completed and the great redemptive work associated with that appearance has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the Cross. His appearance now in Heaven before God the Father is for the accomplishment of the intercessory and mediatorial work unto which the Savior has been appointed of God. There, it is written, that “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).  Christ’s second and final appearance on earth is yet to occur at a time which the Father has “set within His own authority” (Acts 1:7, ASV).
Let us consider now the vital significance to us of each of these three appearances of the Savior. Each appearance is associated with distinct accomplishments by Christ and each produces its own marvelous effect and conveys its own particular benefit to men. We are speaking of effects and benefits which are spiritually substantive and vitally utilitarian to those who are living and walking by faith.
The Effect of His First Coming. (This coming, or appearance, includes, of course, the days of His flesh, His death, burial, and resurrection.) The primary purpose for Christ’s first appearance was to put away sin, to condemn sin in the flesh, and to inaugurate the firstfruits of the “great salvation” (Heb. 2:3) that shall find its completed fruition and consummation in the world to come. Without the first coming of Christ there would be no basis for Christ’s intercession for the saints in the present time and there would be no preparedness, on the part of men, for entrance into the world to come.
The Effect of the Appearance before the Father. “He ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Heb. 7:25; cf. Rom. 8:34). “And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I Jn. 2:1). Our relationship now with the living God can be one of delightful constancy because there is presently a “Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). Ignorance, and especially deliberate neglect of, this Mediator will result in men making shipwreck of the faith (I Tim. 1:19). Christ’s present appearance in the Presence of God for us ensures that “the work” that He “finished” (Jn. 17:4) in this world (and particularly on the Cross) shall not be in vain. For it was “by His own blood” that “He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12).
The Effect of Christ’s Second Coming. (We are speaking here of that effect for the reconciled ones.) At Christ’s second coming faith will be blessedly exchanged for sight; it shall not, however, be the limited sight of these mortal eyes, but rather it shall be sight that is associated with newness and expanded perception. We shall then be invested with our new bodies, with new eyes, and with new and greatly enlarged capacities for involvement in and enjoyment of the resurrection life in the world to come. This shall come to pass when “this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:54; see also vv. 51-53). Thus, in the present time, Christ’s second coming produces in believing men and women the effect of purifying hope (cf. I Jn. 3:3).
The Effect of Transformation. Christ’s second coming shall produce a wonderful transformation in those who are living by faith. As it is written, “when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (I Jn. 3:2). And again, “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall” we “also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). And again, “He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe” (II Th. 1:10). This transformation shall take effect when, at His coming, the Lord Jesus Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:21). 
The Effected Change of Residence. Christ’s coming again the second time shall effect a blessed change of habitat and residence for the saints of the Most High God.  We shall exchange the utter frailty of “our earthly house of this tabernacle” for the enduring stability of the “building of God,” the “house not made with hands,” “eternal in the heavens” (cf. II Cor. 5:1-2). Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Th. 4:17). The Savior Himself promised, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:3). Let us, then, consider well these appearances of the Savior and give place to their intended effects in our hearts. --Editor

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).