Appearing In The Heavenly Places

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, Who is our life, shall  APPEAR, then shall ye also APPEAR with Him in glory.

Here the Greek verb “phaneroo” is used twice being translated “appear.”

Here we also find plainly stated the hope of the members of “the body of Christ,” the church. It means to shine forth, to make manifest. From this verb comes the noun epiphaneia, the appearing or manifestation.

  • Only once is this latter used in the pre-Acts 28 epistles of Paul. And there it is used to describe the parousia, hence the brightness of His presence or coming.
  • On the other hand, bema, the judgment seat, does not appear after Acts 28:28. But is there any judgment for members of the members of “the body of Christ”?

It is for this reason that we write this article.

Some folks, not knowing the secret too well, have gotten the false idea that members of “the body of Christ” are so perfect that they cannot sin, hence no need for a judgment.

But if that be so, then why all the warnings, such as beware, let no man beguile you, and the like? This is just another version of the sinless perfection error so common today.

2 Timothy 4:1, I charge thee therefore hef0re God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.

For those who rely on words for their theology, rather than the intent, this verse is a puzzle. But it is clear that at ‘the appearing’ of Colossians 3:4, some will still be living while others sleep. And there will be a judgment (of rewards) as in the past dispensation. But this judgment will be where they are resurrected, in heaven.

And the word kingdom has stumped a lot of folks, wrongly thinking that the millennial kingdom is all the kingdom there is. Note in Colossians 1:13 members of the body have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the “kingdom of His dear Son.” Surely something must be wrong here too. But looking back after the divorce of Israel in Acts 28, in the 31st verse, Paul preaches (proclaims) the “kingdom of God.”

In looking all thru for the expression “kingdom of God” we must conclude that it may mean anything from the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, to … all that is under the sovereignty of God, in earth, in heaven, and in the heavenlies.’

So do not be surprised if you find that the church of the mystery is also a part of the kingdom of God, and specifically “the kingdom of His dear Son.”

You would do well to search and see other usages of kingdom in the post-Acts epistles of Paul. You might be surprised. Just look at Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:18. Now you can better appreciate what was being said in Acts 28:31. 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Acts 28:31 (KJV)

Not only do we have the judgment of the quick and the dead in 2 Timothy 4:1, but we have a judgment mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:24. So there is a judgment for us today. And that is where Paul expects to receive the prize of the high calling.

Colossians 3:4 “When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”

Thus, we repeat our text, as it must be remembered and kept in mind as the great hope of the church, which is “the body of Christ.” This occurs in glory, not here on the earth. It is where Christ sitteth. It is where heavenly beings are.

After this appearing, then will be realized the mystery of God's will, that “all things in heaven and earth be brought under one Head, even Christ.” And these all things are the new creation which includes: the church on earth and the powers in the heavenlies.

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Ephesians 1:9-10 (KJV)

The new creation is spoken of again in Colossians 1:16-20 and consists of things on earth (the body of Christ, the church) and things in heaven (thrones, dominions, principalities and powers). They meet there in heavenly places for they have a reconciliation, an introduction to each other for mutual living together in high places. And this after the appearing.

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:16-20 (KJV)

In Colossians 1:2:7 it is evident that the saints then were to know, what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in [among] you, the hope of glory. Note what the hope of glory, the heavenly places, is. This takes us right to ‘the appearing.’

And this all prepares us for the admonition in Titus 2:11-14. We must repeat it in full here for the reader to ponder. Here is practical living with a living hope. Read it slowly and with feeling. Do not miss any words.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

Now pick out the skeleton of this quote. Live ‘looking for that blessed hope.’ What hope? The glorious appearing (epiphaneia).

This is not the rapture.

This is not the revelation.

And this is not Israel's hope.


Where will we be when we really look for that blessed hope? Philippians 3:20 tells us that it will be where our citizenship is, and that is not here on the earth, but in heaven.

There is an inheritance in “the holy of holies” (Ephesians 1:18). And it is in this most holy place that the household of God is, of which those who are looking will have a part (Ephesians 2:19). Members are made meet to partake of this inheritance in the holy of holies in the light, the Shekinah glow.

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Colossians 1:12 (KJV)

The inheritance will be awarded after the manifestation. A glorious hope. Not many are interested in it. But it is to be a great event for the Lord, and His.

To see the above as written:


Gathering Together, Or Manifestation?

These are the hopes respectively of the dispensation of promise and the mystery.

The gathering together (some say rapture) concerns an earth people, who here on the earth expect the coming of the King. Among those who go out to meet Him at His coming are the five wise virgins; the foolish ones not being ready, miss it.

The manifestation concerns those whose citizenship is in the heavens, who are seated with Christ at the right hand of God. The manifestation is to be in the heaven of the heavens and to the principalities and powers there. Those who take part in it are those who are there, those whose life is hid with Christ in God.

So, the gathering together is for earth-dwellers; and the manifestation is for heaven-dwellers. The gathering together was not a secret hid in God from ages and generations. This resurrection and the change that is a part of it are revealed from the Book of Genesis and throughout the Scriptures.  Hebrews 11:10 clearly tells us that Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 

On that day, when the Lord comes to meet them in the air, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and the faithful ones who are alive will live forever, that is, be changed (1 Cor. 15:52). But the Truth that there would be a people that should have a resurrection in glory and be manifested with Christ the Head was not known to other ages and generations till revealed by the Apostle Paul after Acts 28:28 (see Eph. 3:4-5).

In the gathering, the believers are caught up (1 Thes. 4:16-17) to the air (not heaven) to meet the Lord as He comes to take over the kingdoms of this earth and rule on the throne of His father David.

When Satan is cast out and his angels with him, then the steadfast believers will meet Christ in the air where they will rule and reign with Him as their reward for their faithful stand.

All, the guests, and the virgins will then return with Him to the earth where a marriage supper will be observed and the King will take over His rule on the earth.

At one time the people of Israel were invited to this marriage, but they refused the invitation and even killed some of the servants who gave it. But a day is coming when other servants (angels) will come and gather scattered Israel from the highways (among the nations) and bring them to the supper. These are the nation, a nation born in a day, who will bring forth the fruits of the kingdom, taking the place of those rejected. These are earth-dwellers.

But the manifestation does not pertain to the earth and those that dwell in it. Christ will emerge from the Shekinah glory to be manifested (seen) in the heaven of heavens and it is promised that when He is manifested, then His Church which is His body will be manifested with Him.

The members, both living and dead, are there in purpose and potential as their lives are hid with Christ in God and will continue there, till their resurrection and manifestation in that place (Col. 3:1-4). Nowhere do we find any of these will be resurrected here on the earth and then have to be transported to heaven for they are seated in Christ Jesus in the heaven of heavens now.