"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" (Heb. 9:28, KJV).
"So, the Christ also, having been once offered in sacrifice in order that He might bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, separated from sin, to those who are eagerly expecting Him, to make their salvation complete" (Heb. 9:28, Weymouth).
A few short months ago, as I was sitting in on a Sunday morning, adult bible-study class, a certain statement within the speaker's message brought instant confirmation within my spirit regarding a revelation which I had earlier received, but quietly sat upon for many long years. Quietly sat upon, that is, until I finally opened-up a year-and-a-half ago, and thoroughly explained it in my first published book: "The Splitting of the Adam, It's Time to Awaken!", a Third-Day study concerning the highly debated subject matter of the Coming of the Lord. Though short and sweet, the speaker's statement that particular morning was simply as follows: "Salvation is a process….", he said! Instantly, upon attentively hearing those brief, simple words, the excitement within became so overwhelming that I may as well have never been present for the remainder of the message; for I honestly heard none of it! Finally! I thought to myself. Somebody is finally starting to catch on to the revelation here; for if salvation is a "process", then getting fully "into Christ" (and I do emphasize the word "fully") must equally be a process as well! Allow me a few moments if you would, my friends, to open a portal of revelation into a life-changing truth, that if ever understood, will forever loosen the shackles of the church's number one issue: Spiritual Complacency!
As you review the Weymouth translation of Hebrews 9:28, above, allow me to direct your attention to a few of the key portions of that passage: "…will appear a second time…to those who are eagerly expecting Him…to make their salvation complete". Perhaps at this point in our study nothing really jumps out at you here, but a few years ago as I was meditating on this passage, the Holy Spirit began to reveal some things. Let's add another passage of scripture, and then I'll begin to explain.
"And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power." (Col. 2:10, KJV)
Anything grabbing your attention yet, my friends? If not, allow me to help out a bit by asking a simple question here concerning the two passages at hand. If a believer gets completely "into Christ" at the initial salvation experience as we've all been taught throughout our lives, and Colossians 2:10, tells us that we are "complete" once we get "into Him", then why does Hebrews 9:28, tell us that a second appearing is necessary to make our salvation "complete"? Are you catching on here, beloved? If we were "complete in Him" at the initial salvation experience, then why would it be necessary for a second appearing to occur to make our salvation "complete"? Selah! Something, therefore, is in complete and total need of re-explanation here. We can't be "complete in Him" at the initial salvation experience, if the book of Hebrews (which was written to believers) tells us that a "second appearing" needs to occur in order to make our salvation "complete"! Let's unfold the mystery.
In a moment, we'll be taking a much closer look into this same important concept from several other scriptural passages, but before we do that, allow me to shed some light upon one more notion which will closely be related to our study. A concept which has become quite unfamiliar throughout most of Christendom concerning the Coming of the Lord. For the most part, denominations and non-denominations alike, when reading or studying passages where the words "coming" or "appearing" are encountered throughout the New Testament, they always seem to throw each of these passages into one, large grab bag and attempt to relate all those passages to the moment in time in which Christ makes His final return. Major mistake, my friends, major mistake! For completely unknown by most of Christendom, there are no less than six Greek words throughout the New Testament for the English words "coming" and "appearing", and some of those words we are about to discover, including the passage from Hebrews 9 above, have nothing to do whatsoever with an outward, physical appearing, but rather an inward, invisible one; and because of this one slight error, the present-day church-world has been completely missing out on an glorious appearing that's entirely available to them in the right here and now! A grand and glorious appearing which brings our eternal salvation to its magnificent completion while yet within the body!
Many of you who have just read the previous paragraph may be saying, "…but wait a minute, brother Don. How can our salvation be made complete in the right here and now without our body experiencing glorification?" To that, I must immediately reply that your question is thoroughly answered in my book, "The Splitting of the Adam, It's Time to Awaken!", for the time and space required to do so in this short article would be extremely inadequate; but let me follow-up that question with a couple of my own. Are you aware that the Greek word for "salvation" is the word "soteria", which means complete and total deliverance or wholeness? Likewise, are you also aware that Second Corinthians 6:2, tells us that "…now is the day of salvation (soteria)"? Complete salvation is available in the right here and now, my friends; we just haven't caught on to the revelation of it yet! There's about to be an awakening! Why else would the author of the book of Hebrews (believed to be Paul) plead to us in the sixth chapter to leave the "elementary teachings" and move on to "perfection"? There has got to be more to this thing than what modern-day Christendom has settled for; and I assure you, beloved, there absolutely is. At the close of this article, for examples sake, we will completely break down just one of these often-misinterpreted passages which uses the word "appear" in order to thoroughly support what we are discussing here; but before we can do that, we must first go back and build up the concept which will ultimately allow us to understand it.
Here's our initial dilemma. When discussing the topic of salvation (soteria), many believers, regardless of denomination or non-denomination, have never been taught an extremely basic concept concerning the subject matter of biblical sonship. What do I mean by that? Let's take a look:
"… he came unto his own, and his own received him not. but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…" (John 1:11-12).
The word for power in this passage is the Greek word "exousia" which means "authority or legal right". This passage, therefore, describes to us that at the initial salvation experience, we gain the "legal right" to be called a son of God; however, what most believers have failed to realize, is that there is more than one word in the Greek language for the English word "son/s". Once they discover this, they immediately realize that they might just have a problem! The Greek word for "sons" here is the word "tek'-non", which simply means "a child, or immature babe". Seventy-seven other times in the New Testament it is used in this way. So, what's the problem you might ask; aren't we all his children? Let me answer that question with one of my own, and then we will investigate another passage. Would you give the keys to your automobile to your three-year-old son? Of course not! And neither then, my friends, will our heavenly father hand the keys of "dominion over the earth" to his immature sons!
"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Rom. 8:19, KJV)
Do you see the word "sons" there? It's an entirely different Greek word than the one which we've just discussed from John 1:12. The Greek word in this passage is "huios (hwee-os')", which comes from a root word meaning a mature son! What we must realize, therefore, is that the creation is not crying out for who we became at the initial salvation experience to appear; it's crying out for the appearance or manifestation of the "mature sons of God"! Something must happen in order to move the majority of Christendom from the infancy realm, to the fullness of biblical maturity! We must be changed from the "teknon" to the "huios"!
The statement that I am about to make will at first sound like an oxymoron to the casual reader, however, for those of you who are willing to patiently await the completion of this article, its explanation could be absolutely life changing. Are you ready, beloved? Here we go! I'll first make the statement, and then, with the remaining time left in this article we will begin to validate it. "The most exciting statement that any apostolic/prophetic voice could ever possibly make to the restless masses of present-day Christendom, is the following: there's more to getting fully "into Christ" than the initial salvation experience, for salvation is a process"! Now, before I begin to explain this statement, I must first make one, quick remark. The church's current belief that they get "into Christ" at the initial salvation experience does carry a partial truth; for at that moment, their spirit within is completely awakened to the saving knowledge of our heavenly father and made new again: "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord…" (Prov. 20:27). But this initial experience is not the completion of the process, for its only within the spirit of man at that point in time which our heavenly father begins to rekindle and share His saving grace to us. As we are about to discover, he is eagerly longing to thoroughly complete the remainder of the process!
With that now said, however, before I even ask, I can already anticipate your next looming question. "What is it that's so exciting about the church finding out that they have not yet gotten fully "Into Christ", brother Don? Listen very carefully, my friends. Please listen! Within our reach, beloved, we have the greatest book of promises ever known to mankind: The Word of God… THE BIBLE! Within that book, God the Father, who cannot lie, swears by both his name and blood to fulfill each of those promises. However, to whom does he swear to fulfill these promises? Keep listening, my friends!
"…For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him are amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2 Cor.1:20).
Can you hear that, beloved? Listen, if God has sworn to fulfill all his promises to those who are "in Christ", then the answer to the churches current dilemma is simply this. Lay down your traditions which have told you that this completely took place at the initial salvation experience and find out what is truly necessary to get completely "into Christ"! Are you hearing me yet? We're all aware of the fact that sickness, poverty, death, broken marriages, shattered relationships, guilt, condemnation, etc. are all running ramped throughout the present-day church-systems, but we're also quite aware that we have become terribly inconsistent when it comes to overcoming these issues! Think about it, church! No, really, think about it! God has not suddenly become unwilling to fulfill his great and precious promises! The problem has been, that the church has been trying to manifest these promises, not realizing, that they have not yet gotten fully "into Christ"! Do you see where I'm going with this, my friends? The only thing that the church really needs to do, is to figure out how to complete their salvation and get fully "into Christ"! Once this happens, everything changes! Everything! Why? Because the triggering point for all the promises being said "yes" and "amen" to is that we get fully and completely "into Christ"! Think about it!
The central issue of what it means to get fully "into Christ" revolves exclusively around one predominant concept: spiritual maturity! Sadly, to say, most of today's seeker friendly church systems have absolutely no idea about what the scriptures truly teach concerning this highly important subject matter. Spiritual maturity has nothing to do whatsoever with one's age, position, church title, or the amount of time that he/she has been a believer. The word of God clearly outlines the pathway to spiritual maturity, and, as we are all obligated all discover, we must follow the pattern! So, let's quickly establish one of the often-overlooked principles concerning spiritual maturity from a passage which we have yet to cover, and remember, we must all be changed from a "teknon" to a "huios", from a child to a mature son!
"…Now I say, that the heir, as long as he remains a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all…" (Gal.4:1, KJV)
What we are about to discover here, now that we have been introduced to the concept of getting fully "into Christ", is that scripture after scripture will suddenly begin to illuminate with insights of revelation which most of us have never even seen before. Here in Galatians 4, we see the apostle Paul explain to us the exact same concept that we have previously been talking about. He tells us that if we as believers remain in the same spiritual condition that we were in when we first came into the Kingdom, there is only one truth that can be determined about us. He tells us here, that all the promises of God truly do belong to us (as heir and lord of all), but, as long as we remain a child (immature), we simply can't manifest them! Selah! It's time for the present-day church-world to fully awaken to their desperate need for change! Let's move on.
Our next reference here is not only one of the most commonly heard passages, but also the most striking.
"…Therefore, if any man be "In Christ", he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new…" (2 Cor. 5:17).
At first, before we dig deeper into this passage, let me ask you one simple question here. Where does this scripture say that you get fully "into Christ" at the initial salvation experience? Anyone? Let me answer that for you: Nowhere, my friends! Absolutely nowhere! In fact, it says just the opposite when you fully break it down. Let's take a closer look. This verse tells us that if we are "in Christ", then we are a "new creation", and if we are a "new creation", then all things have become new. So, I now have a question for you which we partially alluded to earlier on in this article. At the initial salvation experience, what happens to our soul? Anyone? Let me answer this one for you as well: absolutely nothing! At the initial salvation experience, God ignites a fire within our spirit: "For the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord…" (Prov. 20:27). Man's spirit is God's place of choice for initially rekindling our flame with him! Therefore, at the initial salvation experience, the soul remains just as carnal as it was before we accepted Him as our Savior! If this is so (and it absolutely is!), then our soul has not been made new yet, and if that's the case, my friends, then all things have not yet been made new! Therefore, if all things have not yet been made new, then we are not yet a new creation! And if we are not yet a new creation, then according to this passage, we have not yet gotten fully "into Christ"! Selah!
At this point in our article, we've now discovered a couple of things. First, we've discovered that there is more to getting fully "into Christ" than the initial salvation experience (and remember, it's not that we are not yet "in Christ" at all at that point, for our spirit man is, and if we were to pass away at that moment in time we would definitely go to heaven; but we are simply showing here that there is more to completed salvation (soteria) than that initial experience). Secondly, we discovered that getting fully "into Christ" revolves around the unfamiliar concept of spiritual maturity. And now, we are about to discover, that spiritual maturity is all about "the salvation of the soul"! Let's turn over to the book of James for a moment. In chapter one, James immediately reveals to us his audience here; he reveals to us that he's writing to the Jews who had become Christians but had since been scattered throughout the Judean countryside due to religious persecution. In other words, he was writing to those who had already undergone the initial salvation experience. With that in mind, look at what he now tells them in chapter one, verse twenty-one:
"…wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."
Do you see that? The salvation of your soul is an experience separate from, and beyond, the initial salvation experience! And, as we will soon find out, it's the gateway into spiritual maturity, and the gateway fully "into Christ"! Week after week, ministers stand proudly behind their pulpits and proclaim to their congregations how many "souls" have just been saved. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it's this misconception which has caused the church to become spiritually stagnant! For if their soul has already been saved, then they have absolutely no reason whatsoever to continue any longer into the deeper things of the Lord! All they must do now, is keep their eyes upon the Eastern Sky and do their own thing until Christ returns. Any five-fold minister, who is fulfilling their God-given calling, however, will first and foremost be absolutely faithful at doing one specific thing: they'll bring the people whom the lord has placed under their ministry into spiritual maturity! Ephesians 4:11-15, bears this out:
"…And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness , whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ…".
In the Thayer and Smith Greek Lexicon, the word "perfecting" in verse 12 means: "The perfecting of the soul"! It's the job of the five-fold ministry, therefore, to bring everyone whom God places under them unto the "salvation of their soul"! Also, in verse 15, Paul says: "…may grow up into him…" Did you catch that? He says here, that in order to get "into Him", we must "grow up" (mature)! In fact, in Galatians 4:19, he continues to expound on the matter by saying that the burden of an "apostle", is to see that "Christ" is "formed within a people"! If all of this had already happened at the initial salvation experience, then there would be no further purpose for the office of the apostle! Selah! The entire purpose of the Apostolic ministry is to speak a powerful message which brings each believer fully and completely into spiritual maturity, fully and completely "into Christ"! So, with all of this said, let's attempt to culminate this article as we pull things together now through a closing exegesis of one of the most popular scriptural passages concerning the "appearing" of the Lord: 1 John 3:2.
" are the of it not we shall : we he shall , we shall we shall he ." (1 John 3:2, KJV)
As we bring this article to a conclusion, allow me to remind you that in our opening passage of scripture from Hebrews 9:28, we were clearly told there that a "second appearing" is of absolute necessity in order to make the salvation (soteria) of every believer complete. I must also remind you, that even though most of Christendom takes virtually every occurrence of the words "coming" and "appearing" throughout the New Testament and attempts to associate them with the final, literal return of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, it's in absolute error that they do so. As we are about to discover, there are no less than six different Greek words for "coming" and "appearing" recorded there, and they do not all refer to an outward, physical appearing, including Hebrews 9:28, which is fully exegeted in my book "The Splitting of the Adam, It's Time to Awaken!". As we delve into 1 John 3:2, I must likewise make mention that due to the wording constraints in the article at hand, only a highly condensed version of this passage will be given here, however, for those who would like a more detailed breakdown, my book also offers twenty-one pages of teaching relating to this section. Let's begin.
First and foremost, our initial order of business here is to clearly identify the audience. Who is it that's actually being addressed here? If we can answer that question, its all downhill from there.
"Beloved, now we are the Sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be…"
As we clearly revealed earlier on in our article, there are two different Greek words for the English word "son/s". In this passage, the word is "teknon" which means a babe or immature child. So, immediately, we discover that John is addressing young, immature babes in Christ here. He is not addressing mature believers! All that he's really saying here, is that as long as you are in the "teknon" realm, there has not yet been an appearing to make your salvation complete! Can you hear that, beloved? The key word in this passage is the word "appear", which is the Greek word "phaneroo"; and you guessed it, my friends, it has nothing to do with a physical appearing. Have you ever been puzzled about a particular matter until suddenly, the proverbial "light bulb" came on and instant understanding occurred? That's exactly what the word "phaneroo" implies. It means to make known to the understanding. In other words, it's an appearing in the mind! All that this passage is actually saying, beloved, is that as long as you are in the "teknon" realm as a believer, you have not yet experienced a second appearing (in the mind) which brings understanding concerning your true identity. Do you remember earlier when Paul said "…as long as he remains a child…though he be Lord of all" (Gal. 4:1)? John is saying the exact same thing here. He's saying, if we remain a 'teknon', it has not yet appeared to us who we really are, but once this understanding comes (through revelation), we shall be like him! We shall experience an identity change! Why? For we shall "see" (understand) him as he really is! When we fully enter "into Christ", His identity becomes our identity, and "behold, all things have become new!" Are you looking for his appearing, beloved?