Q: #422. Is Jesus appearing to people today?
By: Steve Shirley
A: I believe that there are two sides to this question. First, is Jesus appearing "physically" to people today?" Second, is Jesus appearing in "visions or dreams" to people today? To the first question, I say "no," to the second I say "it is possible." Let's address both of these.
First, why isn't Jesus appearing "physically?" Jesus warned us in several verses that there will be people who claim to be Christ, especially in the end times.
(Mt 24:5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Also see: Mk 13:6, Lk 21:8)
(Mt 24:23-26) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. (24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (25) Behold, I have told you before. (26) Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. (Also see: Mk 13:21-23)
So, how do we know who is a "false christ?" Because, the Bible tells us what will happen when Jesus DOES appear physically.
(Acts 1:9-11) And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (10) And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; (11) Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same JESUS, which is taken up from you into heaven, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN. (caps emphasis mine)
(Mt 24:27-30) For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (28) For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
(Lk 21:27) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Also see: Mk 13:26)
(Rev 1:7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Here are some other verses telling us about Christ's return: (Mt 26:64)(Mk 14:62)(Mt 16:27)(1 Th 4:16)(2 Th 2:1-2)(Rev 19:11-16).
This is going to be a BIG event. It will be unmistakable that Jesus is physically returning. This is also why I believe that Jesus is not "physically" appearing today. We know how He will return. Therefore, if someone is claiming to be Christ, and these Biblical things have not accompanied that person, that person is NOT Christ!
Unfortunately, in recent times, we have had several examples of people following men who claimed to be the Messiah (i.e. Jim Jones, David Koresh). These examples ended very badly... There has been the charismatic televangelist who "prophesied" that Jesus would physically appear in some churches and on stage with him (it never happened). We have had numerous examples of people claiming that Jesus physically appeared and had a face to face conversation with them. These examples, and more are exactly why we must know what the Bible says about the physical return of Jesus. And, we must warn others about "false christs," or those who claim that Jesus has appeared or will soon appear (no one knows that day: Mt 24:36, Mk 13:32, Acts 1:7.)
Now, on the other hand, there seems to be nothing unbiblical about Jesus appearing to people in "dreams and visions." Dreams and visions from God are found all through the Bible. Jesus, in the New Testament, appeared in visions to people such as Stephen (Acts 7:55-56), Paul (Acts 9:3-6)(Acts 18:9-11)(Acts 22:17-21)(Acts 23:11), Ananias (Acts 9:10-16), and John in Revelation. Today, hundreds (thousands?) of visions from Jesus are being reported by people all around the world. How many of these are legitimate is anyone's guess. (If they contradict anything in God's Word, they aren't from God.) However, some unquestionably seem legit.
A vast majority of these "visions" or "dreams" have resulted in salvation. Jesus has revealed Himself to people who are persecuting Christians (like He did with Paul). He has revealed Himself to people who have never had a chance to hear the Gospel. These have resulted in dramatic conversions. Some have gone on to be pastors. Some have been martyred for their new faith. (If they didn't truly believe that Jesus had revealed Himself to them, would they be willing to die for a lie?)
The Bible tells us that God is a rewarder of those
who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). (Jer 29:13) says, "And ye shall seek me,
and find me, when ye search for me with all your heart. (Also see: Deut
4:29). In addition, God desires for ALL men to be saved and go to Heaven (1 Tim 2:3-4)
(2 Pet 3:9)(Mt 18:14). Jesus can most certainly use any number of
supernatural ways to reach those who are seeking Him, or those who have
never heard of Him, and bring them to salvation. Revealing Himself through
"dreams and visions" can be one of those ways.
See: "What happens to those people who have never heard of Jesus" for more on this.
Jesus can also use "dreams and visions" to direct other aspects of people's lives. I know many who have experienced this personally. Dreams and visions will increase in the last days (Acts 2:17)(Joel 2:28).
Finally, I should add that there CAN be "physical" visitations from angels today (Heb 13:2)(Heb 1:14). This happened in the Gospels to: Jesus (Mt 4:11)(Lk 22:43), Mary Lk 1:26-38), and the Shepherds (Lk 2:9-15), and in Acts to: Peter (Acts 12:5-10), Paul (Acts 27:23-24), and the Apostles (Acts 5:18-20).