Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

Going to Jesus

Spiritual Light

Chapter Two:

The Sacrifice of Christ

John David Clark, Sr.
© 2008

Instructions in the Faith for Spirit-filled Believers

"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one."

 

Picture of John Clark Sr.Jesus earnestly prayed that the Father would make us all one, and yet God's people are divided by conflicting doctrines and traditions into a thousand different sects.

This book is the result of four visitations from the Lord Jesus to me over approximately four years, beginning in the summer of 1975. The first time that the word of God came to me, it was as if I had been sitting in darkness my whole life, without knowing it, and suddenly someone turned the light on. I think you will feel enlightened as well, as you read this book. Prepare for an adventure in faith.

Book Contents
Introduction
Introduction
Chapter 1
The Third Commandment
Chapter 2
The Sacrifice of Christ
Chapter 3
Conversion and Baptism
Chapter 4
Salvation and Works

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My Credentials for Writing Chapter Two:

The Sacrifice of Christ

When I began my walk with Christ Jesus, I had a deep hunger to know the Bible, even the most complicated and confusing parts. As part of my quest for biblical knowledge, I set out to study the details of the tabernacle which Moses and Israel built while they were camped at Mount Sinai. These details are given in the last sixteen chapters of Exodus, and I happily familiarized myself with the measurements of each piece of furniture, the materials used in the construction of the tabernacle, and it's coverings and curtains, it's boards and bars, the courtyard, the two altars, and everything else associated with the holy place where atonement would be made for Israel's sins.

I took detailed notes of everything I read, but I did something much more important than that. Every day while I was doing my research, I watched the clock on my shelf by my desk, and at the top of every hour I would put down everything and fall to my knees and pray to God, that He would help me understand what I was reading.

I remember pleading with Him to show me why He gave these instructions to Moses. I remember confessing to Him my faith that he had a wise purpose for everything, that these tabernacle details were not random, that my professors were wrong in telling me Moses' tabernacle was an assimilation of elements from various heathen temples. I confessed to God my faith that the Bible was true, that He really had revealed these things to Moses while he was with God forty days on the top of Mount Sinai, and that I believed with all my heart that the design and purpose for that tabernacle was relevant to the lives of believers today, if we only had the eyes to see it!

I did this at the top of every hour, every day as I studied the details of Moses' tabernacle. When my study was completed, I reviewed the 3x5 cards on which I had taken notes and then, I put it all away. I had learned much, and was content with that, but I did not know that God had accepted my prayer to reveal to me what Moses' tabernacle really represented.

Shortly afterwards, I was preaching one Saturday night to a small congregation far out in the country, and I found myself talking about the sacrifice of Christ. I was explaining things about that sacred event which I, myself, did not understand. I did not realize what was happening, since this had never happened to me before. The holy Spirit was revealing something to me as well as to the congregation, using my own mouth to speak hidden mysteries, right in the middle of my own sermon! It was wonderful!

All of a sudden, this glorious experience was interrupted by an angry man. He jumped up and started quarreling before us all about a doctrine he had been taught. Apparently, he felt threatened by this new thing that I was preaching, and was so offended that he became enraged. I was stunned. In just a few minutes, he stormed out of the meeting, with several other people following him. I didn't finish my sermon; the flow of the Spirit had been interrupted and my attention diverted. Those of us who remained, knelt and prayed, and then went home.

The following Wednesday night, I had an appointment to return to the same little congregation and preach again. As I drove south on Highway 39, about halfway between my hometown of Henderson and Louisburg, the Lord, quite unexpectedly, interrupted my thoughts by asking me a question. It is difficult to describe exactly how it happened, but the answer to the Lord's question was enfolded within the question itself.

The question was,"Where was Christ when he was sacrificed?" The Lord gave me enough time to ponder the question so that I knew I did not know the answer; however, somehow, at the same moment the question came, God created in my heart the knowledge of the answer. It is impossible to describe the event adequately. All I can say is that, suddenly, I understood that the sacrifice of Christ took place in heaven, in the presence of the Father, not on Earth, hanging on a cross before men. Furthermore, because I had prepared myself to receive that revelation by studying the Bible and humbly seeking God's help, I was now equipped to use the Scriptures to explain to others what Jesus had shown me.

All those long hours of studying the tabernacle of Moses paid off, with enormous dividends. All the prayers, at the top of every hour, now seemed well worth the time. I felt rich, for at last I understood the Scriptures which spoke with such power of the sacrifice of Christ, especially those in Hebrews, chapters 8-10. The reasons for building the Old Testament tabernacle made perfect sense. God did have a holy purpose for it, and that Old Testament sanctuary was relevant to our life in Christ Jesus!

All the pieces of that puzzle began to fit together, and I marveled at the astonishing picture that I now saw. A hundred questions of my own had been answered in that one, precious, holy moment.

With the revelation of God now guiding my heart, I set about to gather biblical information concerning the sacrifice of Christ, that awful, pivotal event in human history, and that labor is now offered to you, in the chapter that follows.

Chapter Two
The Sacrifice of Christ

Then, indeed, the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary."

(Heb. 9:1)

"For Christ has not entered into the sanctuary made by human hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

(Heb. 9:24)

The Day of Atonement, "Yom Kippur", was the most holy day of the Old Testament calendar. It was the day when the high priest of Israel entered into the presence of God to offer the blood of sacrifice for the sins of all the people of Israel. This ceremony took place at the tabernacle, and to fully grasp the significance of the event of Yom Kippur, we must first understand the significance of the tabernacle itself.

The Old Testament tabernacle was built by men, but it was designed by God. God showed Moses the design for the tabernacle when Moses was with Him on Mt. Sinai forty days and nights (Ex. 24:18; 25:9, 40; etc.) Centuries later, when the time came for a temple[6] to be built in Jerusalem, we are told that its pattern, similar to that of Moses' tabernacle, was given to David "by the Spirit" (1Chron. 28:11-12).

Seeing, then, that the tabernacle (and later, Solomon's temple) was not of men's design, we should not be surprised to learn that it was more than just an earthly tabernacle, that it represented a spiritual reality. And the spiritual reality that the tabernacle represented is heaven itself, God's true tabernacle (Ps. 102:19; 104:2; Isa. 40:22).

The Copy and The True

The tabernacle was divided by a veil into two rooms. In the first room, called "the holy place", was a candlestick with seven branches for seven lamps, or candles (Ex. 25:37). In his vision of heaven, John saw that "there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God" (Rev. 4:5). So, on earth, the seven flames of the candlestick were dead, earthly flames, but the flames they represented in heaven were living flames, seven special "spirits which are before God's throne" (Rev. 1:4).

In the second room, the "most holy" place, were two cherubim, each molded onto opposite ends of the mercy seat (God's earthly throne) that sat atop the ark of the covenant. To these were added, in Solomon's temple, two huge cherubim standing on either side of the mercy seat. These cherubim were carved from olive tree wood and covered with gold (1Kgs. 6:23, 28). So, on earth, these beings were made of dead material, wood and gold, but young Zechariah was told by an angel that these two olive trees represented "the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth" (Zech. 4:14).

Throughout the whole of Moses' tabernacle, as well as Solomon's temple that came later, cherubim were carved on the doors and walls, sewn onto the curtains and veils, and chiseled onto the furniture (1Kgs. 6:32, 35; 7:36, etc). When the priest entered the temple, he felt surrounded by that "multitude of the heavenly host" - living beings in heaven, though mere dead figures in heaven's earthly replica.

Leaving the many other impressive heavenly correlations of the tabernacle for your personal study, let's look now at the tabernacle as a whole.[7]

The Bible speaks of three heavens. The first is the place of clouds and birds and wind. The second heaven is the place of stars, moons, and planets. Into these two heavens, as the invention of airplanes and rockets have proved, men may freely go. But into the third heaven no man in a fleshly body has ever gone, or will ever go. Correspondingly, the tabernacle was divided by a veil into two rooms: the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (Ex. 26:33). The Holy Place, where priests were constantly present, was exactly twice the length of the Most Holy (1Kgs. 6:2, 20). And, though the priests had free access to this Holy Place (first two heavens), they were not allowed into the Most Holy (third heaven). The privilege of passing through the veil into the Most Holy Place of God's personal presence was reserved for the High Priest, and he was allowed there but once each year - on the holiest day of the Old Testament calendar: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

The veil, and what it represents, is most significant for an understanding of the work of Christ. What did it represent? Isaiah gave us a clue when he said that God would someday do away with "the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations" (Isa. 25:7). This veil, spread over all people, is human flesh, as Hebrews 10:20 explains. In their flying machines, men may go, and have gone into the first two heavens in fleshly, physical bodies; but in order to enter into the very presence of God, we must pass through the veil; that is, our fleshly bodies must be changed in order for us to see God. This "passing through the veil" is called "glorification" in the New Testament.

As I have said, Yom Kippur was the one day in the year in which the High Priest was allowed to pass through the veil into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place. There, as atonement for the sins of the whole nation, he sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial animal on the mercy seat. But in order to have blood to offer to God, the victim must have already been slain.

Think about that.

The sacrificial victim was slain outside the tabernacle. Then, the High Priest entered with the blood into the tabernacle, then through the veil into the presence of God to make the atoning sacrifice. The slaying of the animal outside the earthly tabernacle was the pattern for the slaying of Jesus outside God's true tabernacle (heaven). The entrance of the High Priest into the earthly tabernacle to offer the sacrifice of atonement foreshadowed Jesus' ascension into heaven,

"for Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place every year with the blood of others, for then must he often have suffered from the foundation of the world. But now once in the end of the world he has appeared [before God in heaven] to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

(Heb. 9:24-26)

 

An Important Detail

Over long periods of time, words often undergo a metamorphosis. Their meanings change. An example of this is the word "offend". In the era when the King James Version was written, the meaning of "offend" was usually "to cause sin". For example, Jesus said, "If your right eye offend you, pluck it out" (Mt. 5:29). But now "offend" most often means "to insult" or "to hurt the feelings of". The meaning has changed. Among other such examples of change in meaning is "sacrifice".

I once asked my students to give me a synonym for "to sacrifice". I gave them this sentence:

"The man is going to sacrifice the lamb."

Next, I removed "sacrifice" from the sentence and asked them to replace it with a synonym. You do it. Fill in the blank with another word for "sacrifice":

"The man is going to _____________ the lamb."

What word did you think of? To kill? To give up? To slaughter? If so, you are correct in modern usage but incorrect biblically speaking. In the Bible, "to sacrifice" never means simply to kill. Killing the victim always preceded the sacrifice; "to sacrifice is to offer the slain animal to God. "To sacrifice," then, is to offer something to God that has been prepared to be offered. In the case of an animal, the killing was only part of the preparation for sacrifice; it was not the act of sacrifice itself.

Christ, then, was no more sacrificed on the cross of Calvary than the Old Testament animal was sacrificed where it was killed. His crucifixion was only part of the preparation for the sacrifice which followed. On Yom Kippur, had the Old Testament High Priest killed the animal and then not entered into the tabernacle to offer its blood to God, there would have been no sacrifice. And had Jesus been killed and then not risen from the dead and ascended into heaven (the true tabernacle) to offer himself to God, there would have been no sacrifice. In both cases, the sacrifice was made possible by, and followed, the death of the victim. The earthly High Priest entered into the earthly tabernacle with the blood of goats and calves, but Jesus, the High Priest of heaven, entered into the

greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this world. Neither with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he entered in once for all into the holy place."

(Heb. 9:11b-12)

Jesus did not ascend into heaven because the sacrifice was complete; rather, he ascended into heaven to complete the sacrifice. Unorthodox as it sounds, the Spirit and the Scriptures teach us that Jesus had to die before he could offer himself to God as a sacrifice for our sin. Before his death, Jesus had nothing to offer.

Passing Through The Veil

It is interesting to focus for a moment on the specific time that Jesus was glorified, or "passed through the veil". We know from observing the earthly pattern that, since the veil was inside the tabernacle, the Lord's "passing through" took place inside the tabernacle. So, according to the pattern God gave to Moses, Jesus' glorification took place after he entered into God's heavenly tabernacle and entered the very presence of God.

Jesus' ascension into heaven followed the three days he spent preaching in the heart of the earth(Mt. 12:40; 1Pet. 3:19) and the forty days he spent on earth "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God " (Acts 1:3). And seven more days of consecration are accounted for after his ascension (Lev. 8:33-36). This total of fifty days accounts for the fifty day period between Passover and Pentecost.

There is some doubt as to exactly when we should start counting those fifty days. Still, though we may not be able at this time to pinpoint the precise day or hour that Jesus passed through the veil to offer himself to God on our behalf, we know that precious event took place only after his ascension into heaven in the first chapter of Acts, and at least seven days after that.

Whenever the precise moment Jesus' glorification occurred, that glorification was our deliverance. For when God, as Peter preached in Acts 3:13, "glorified his Son Jesus" with the glory which was his with God "before the world was" (Jn. 17:5), the Spirit of God was sent down from heaven upon a large group (about one hundred twenty) of Jesus' disciples on Pentecost morning.

John (7:37-39) told us that the Spirit would not be given until Jesus was glorified (not crucified or resurrected). "Glorification" means to be changed from life in a fleshly body to life in a spiritual body, being changed from mortality to immortality, from a body subject to disease and sickness to an incorruptible body. Glorification is synonymous with "inheriting the kingdom of God". Those born of the Spirit are heirs with Christ, but as long as we are still in these fleshly bodies, the inheritance has not yet been received. Paul told the Corinthian believers:

"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

(1Cor. 15:50-53)

We will all be changed! We will all pass through the veil, for Christ "will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious [glorified] body" (Phip. 3:21). What a wonderful promise! In these bodies of flesh we cannot see God as He is; it would kill us to do so (Ex. 33:20). And although "it does not yet appear what we shall be . . . we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we will see him as he is" (1Jn. 3:2). This glorification of the body is the "passing through the veil"; it is the promised inheritance of sons.

If you are a faithful child of God and die blind or lame, God has promised you that you will not spend eternity in a blind or lame spiritual body. A glorified body will not have our physical inadequacies, or missing parts, or scars. The "mansions" Jesus is preparing for us are perfectly glorious, eternal and whole. John did not see any blemish on the glorified Jesus in his revelation of the Lord (Rev. 1:13-14):

"And in the midst of the seven lampstands [was] one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girded up to his chest with a golden girdle. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like a flame of fire. And his feet like unto fine brass, glowing in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters."

 

There are no blood stains on the robes Jesus now wears, no thorn pricks in his forehead, no lash marks on his back. He has passed through the veil that was subject to those things.

When Jesus came out of the tomb, however, he was not glorified. He was still in the same body of flesh that had been nailed to the tree. The nail prints were still in it; the spear wound was still there. He even had to tell his disciples, before they would believe it, that he was not (yet) a spiritual being. He said in Luke 24:39b:

"Handle me, and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see me have."

 

So, if he was yet in a body of flesh and bones, he obviously was not yet glorified. And if not yet glorified, then the Spirit was not yet available because the sacrifice had not yet been made.

One Ascension, No Return

The book of Hebrews adds this instructive note to our study:

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth [waiting] till his enemies be made his footstool."

(Heb. 10:12-13)

The fact that Jesus sat down at God's right hand after offering himself as our atoning sacrifice is important, for it means (1) that he did not (as many teach) return to earth after he offered himself to God, and (2) that he will not return to earth "until his enemies be made his footstool." Of course, in Spirit, both Jesus and the Father returned at Pentecost (Jn. 14:16, 20, 23). But as for Jesus' personal presence, let it suffice to remind the reader that we are looking for his second coming, not his third or fourth. After his first visit, he sat down.

The Witness

Not all that these truths imply concerning the doctrine of Christ is immediately evident. Some elaboration is, therefore, in order.

When Jesus ascended (Acts 1:9), he ascended out of the range of human sight and hearing. And in the heavenly temple into which he ascended, there were no microphones, tape recorders, cameras, or newsmen to record and report to people on earth as to what had occurred. Jesus, being glorified, sat down at God's right hand and has not returned to earth since then. No angels were dispatched to report the accomplishment of the sacrifice. How, then, did the one hundred twenty faithful followers of Jesus find out that the sacrifice had been made and accepted, and that Jesus had been glorified with God? John gave us the simple answer:

"It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth."

(1Jn. 5:6b)

While with his disciples, Jesus had foretold of the Spirit's coming and the purpose for it:

"But when the comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me."

(Jn. 15:26)

The followers of Jesus could testify of seeing his miracles, his suffering, his resurrection, and his ascension. They saw these things for themselves. They did not need the holy Ghost to reveal to them that these events occurred. But as to what happened beyond the clouds into which Jesus disappeared, the disciples were completely ignorant - until the Spirit of God came from heaven into their hearts, testifying that God the Father had accepted the Son's sacrifice and that "God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name" (Phip. 2:9).

The Spirit of life given at Pentecost was, and is God's own immutable testimony of His Son. We could even say that the Spirit that came at Pentecost is God's Word concerning His Son (cp. Eph. 6:17). And so, to receive God's Spirit demonstrates one's faith in what He says about His Son (cp. Jn. 3:33). On the other hand, the one who rejects God's Spirit "has made Him a liar because he has not believed in the witness which God has given concerning His Son" (1Jn. 5:10b).

The Scriptures, then, leave us no alternative. Either we receive God's holy Spirit and, so, declare before men that He has spoken the truth about His Son, or we reject God's Spirit, His personal testimony that Jesus is Lord, and thus declare that God is a liar. This doctrine of John's is sobering in its simplicity. Those with the baptism of the holy Ghost have believed that God is true and are worthy of salvation, and those without it have made God out to be a liar and are worthy of the damnation that is coming.

Another truth that is made obvious, once the Sacrifice of Christ is rightly understood, is that when the Spirit came at Pentecost, it came for the first time. The disciples received the holy Ghost when they were baptized with it on the day of Pentecost, and not before.

Jesus' ascension in the first chapter of Acts preceded both his sacrifice and his glorification. When the sacrifice was accomplished, he sat down (Heb. 10:12-13); he did not return to earth.[8] If then, Christ's sacrifice and subsequent glorification were not accomplished until Acts, it is clear that the Spirit was not available until Acts, for the Spirit came as a result of the sacrifice (cp. Jn. 7:37-39) and as God's witness to the Son's glorification.

The disciples, therefore, received the Spirit at Pentecost when they were baptized with it, and not before. This means that they were converted on the day of Pentecost because receiving the Spirit is what conversion is (see Rom. 8:9b). Just a little study of the Scriptures will show that baptism with the Spirit and receiving of the Spirit happened simultaneously in every recorded case: the Samaritans (Acts 8:14-17), Paul (Acts 9:17-18), Cornelius (Acts 10:44-45), and the twelve Ephesian disciples (Acts 19:1-6). Every person who has ever received the Spirit of God received it when he was baptized with it. But we will deal more with that point in a later chapter.

Acts 2:4

All that we have studied withers and comes to nought without taking the next step and observing the practical result of the sacrifice of Christ in the lives of his followers. Since the receiving of God's Spirit happens at conversion, this means the disciples were not converted until their experience during the feast of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2! There is nothing in the gospels that suggests that the disciples were born again before the book of Acts. On the contrary, long after he had called his disciples to follow him, Jesus spoke of their conversion as a future event (Mt. 18:1-3), even up to the last hours of his earthly life (Lk. 22:32).

While it is true that the disciples were chosen (Jn. 15:16-19), separate from and hated by the world (Jn. 17:14), loved by the Father (Jn. 16:27), and ordained to spread the word of the kingdom with power (Mt. 10:1-8), they still were not sanctified (Jn. 17:17), they were not in Christ (Jn. 17:11, 21-23), the love of God was not in them (Jn. 17:26), nor did they have the Spirit (Jn. 14:15-17; cp. Jn. 7:37-39). All these things would happen to them at their conversion.

Jesus' passionate desire was to have the disciples to be one with him in the Father (Jn. 17:20-23). And as much as Jesus would have savored having fellowship in spirit with his disciples while he walked on earth, he knew that it could not be until he paid the awful price. His death was the precondition of their regeneration. The utter aloneness of Jesus in this sense is an often overlooked part of his earthly suffering which must have been among his heaviest burdens. His beloved disciples would not really understand him until he went away and the Spirit had come.

During his last supper discourse, Jesus compared the spiritual condition of his disciples to a woman in labor. Conceived by the word of life, they had continued with Jesus until, at the end of his earthly ministry, they were near the hour of birth (Pentecost). Jesus said:

"Truly, truly, I say unto you, that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."

(Jn. 16:20-22)

Baptized Into Christ

The doctrinal separation of conversion and baptism is one of the most puzzling and indefensible developments in the history of faith. Paul plainly taught that the baptism of the holy Spirit was the means of entering the body of Christ (Rom. 6:1-4; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12). Peter just as plainly taught that the resurrection of Christ brought about the baptism that saves us (1Pet. 3:20-21).

Yet, somehow, despite these Scriptures, and Jesus' own teaching, and the accounts of conversions in Acts, the belief that conversion occurs before receiving the holy Ghost baptism is practically ubiquitous among modern believers. And with the abundance of such clear, contradictory evidence, it is astonishing that such a doctrine should have ever gained such widespread acceptance.

Let's take a closer look at conversion and baptism right now.

footnotes

[6] (Page 29) For purposes of distinction, “tabernacle” should be used when referring to the tent of worship which Moses constructed at Mt. Sinai, and “temple” should only be used when referring to Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.

[7] (Page 30) For example, compare these similarities between heaven and its earthly counterpart: A. Made without hands: 1Kgs. 6:7 with Heb. 9:11 B. The ark within it: 1Kgs. 6:19 with Rev. 11:19 C. Foursquare: 1Kgs. 6:20 with Rev. 21:16 D. Pure gold: 1Kgs. 6:21-22 with Rev. 21:18 E. The two cherubim: 1Kgs. 6:23, 27, 28 with Zech. 4:3-5, 11-14; Rev. 11:3-4 F. Cherubim figures: Ex. 26:1, 31; 1Kgs. 6:29, 32, 35; 7:29, 36 with Ps. 68:17; Mt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11 G. Posts: 1Kgs. 6:33 with Isa. 6:4a H. Foundation: 1Kgs. 7:10 with Rev. 21:19-20 I. Molten sea: 1Kgs. 7:23 with Rev. 4:6a, 15:2 J. Curtains: Ex. 26:1 with Ps. 104:2; Isa. 40:22

[8] (Page 38) The disciples could not have received the Spirit in John 20:19-23. Jesus here only ordained them (1) to receive the Spirit (v. 22), and (2) to go out and begin to preach (v. 21), and (3) to forgive and retain sins (v. 23). None of those things happened at that time.

It cannot be concluded from Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection (Jn. 20:17) that he had already ascended to the Father, made the eternal sacrifice, been accepted and glorified by God, and then entered again into his fleshly body to return to earth. Some teach that he had done so in order to give the holy Spirit to the ten disciples in this scene (Thomas was not there) and then, later, returned to the Father in order to send back the baptism of the Spirit.

Besides this being an unreasonable and inexplicable order of events, it contradicts the immense weight of clear scriptural evidence. For instance, Jesus told his followers that what they would receive at Pentecost was “the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). But if the disciples received the Spirit before Pentecost, then “the promise of the Father” is the baptism of the Spirit, and not the Spirit itself (contrary to Gal. 3:14 and Eph. 1:13, etc.)

Another minor point. That Jesus could appear into a room with its doors and windows shut and locked is not the proof that some suppose it is that the Lord was in a glorified body before his ascension. After all, which takes more power to do, to appear in a room with locked doors or to walk on water? Jesus had that kind of miracle-working power the entire time he was here on earth. Moreover, Philip was involved in a very similar miracle in the book of Acts, and he certainly was still in his fleshly body (Acts 8:39-40).

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