Appearance

Appearance

(ἐφάνη, Mr 16:9; ἐφανερώθη Mr 16:12,14; ὤφθη, Lu 24:34; 1Co 15:5; ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαντόν, Joh 21:1; παρέστνσεν ἑαυτόν), a term usually applied to the interviews afforded by Christ to his disciples after his resurrection (q.v.).

The circumstances of these instances indicate that his body, although not yet glorified, had already undergone such a change as to give it extraordinary powers of locomotion, even through closed doors, and of becoming visible or invisible at pleasure, while it yet retained the palpable characteristics of matter, and was even capable of taking food in the ordinary way; traits that ally it strongly to the "spiritual body" of the angels (q.v.). Monographs on these occurrences and their peculiarities have been written by Fecht (Rost. 1699), Langsdorff (Viteb. 1710), Alberti (Lips. 1693), Arnoldt (Regiom. 1741-1743), Becker (Rost. 1773), Buddaeis (Jen. 1711), Buttstedt (Cobl. 1751), Carpov (Jen. 1755, 1765), Chladenius (Erlang. 1750, 1753), Eichler (Lips. 1737), Feuerlin (Gott. 1750), Gerike (Helmst. 1745), Gfrtler (Franeq. 1712), Horn (Lubec. 1706), K6ppen (Gr- ph. 1701), Krehl (Lips. 1845), Mayer (Gryph. 1702), Munck (Lond. 1774), Pries (Rost. 1780), Quandt (Regiom. 1715), Zeibich (Ger. 1785). SEE JESUS.

Definition of appearance

APPEARANCE TO MARY MAGDALEN. There is a difficulty connected with the first of these appearances. The gospel narratives (Mt 28:1-15; Mr 16:2-11; Lu 24:1-12; Joh 20:1-18), when carefully adjusted in their several incidents to each other, distinctly indicate that Mary the Magdalene was not among the Galilaean women at the time they were favored with the first sight of their risen Master, she having just then left them to call Peter and John; and that Christ afterward revealed himself to her separately. Mark, however, uses one expression that seems directly to contradict this arrangement: "Jesus . . . appeared FIRST (πρῶτον) to Mary Magdalene" (Mr 16:9). Several methods of reconciling this discordance have been devised, but they are all untenable, and the best of them (that of Dr. Robinson [after Hengstenberg], in the Bibliotheca Sacra, Feb. 1845, p. 178) is not at all satisfactory (see Davidson, Introd. to the N.T., 1, 169), which consists in considering the "first" as put by Mark relatively (q. d. πρότερον), to denote the first of the three appearances related by him simply, the "after that" of verse 12 introducing a second appearance, and the "afterward" of verse 14 serving to mark the last of Mark's series. Any reader, taking the words in their natural construction, would certainly understand Mark as meaning to say absolutely, that Christ's first public appearance was made to Mary, and two of his subsequent ones to other: persons. Moreover, the question still remains, why does Mark single out this appearance to Mary, rather than the previous one to several women? — A closer inspection of the facts will assist to clear up the difficulty. Independently of this "'first" of Mark, the incidents may naturally be arranged as in the following scheme (see Strong's Harm. of the Gospels, § 138-141). By this it is seen that Christ's appearance to the other women could not well have preceded that to Mary by more than twenty minutes; and if the time for the other women's return be so lengthened as to make the appearance to Mary precede that to them, the interval in this direction cannot be made to exceed fifteen minutes, as any one may see by making the corresponding changes in the above table. Mark, in speaking in this general way of Christ's visits, would not be likely to distinguish between two appearances so nearly coincident; the very parties who witnessed them, or heard them reported, would not themselves have noticed so slight a priority without instituting some such calculation as the above, which they were in no condition of mind at the time to make, nor likely to concern themselves about afterward. In the verse under consideration, therefore, Mark designs to refer to both these appearances as one, and he mentions Mary's name particularly because of her prominence in the whole matter, just as he places her first in the list in verse I (comp. Mt 27:56,61; Mt 28:1; and see on Joh 20:17). This identification is confirmed by the fact that none of the evangelists mention both of these appearances, Matthew and Luke narrating the events just as if Mary had been with the other women at the time of their meeting with Christ, while Mark and John speak of the appearance to her only; yet they all obviously embrace in their accounts the twofold appearance. Luke also explicitly includes Mary among the women who brought the tidings to the apostles (verse 10), evidently not distinguishing her subsequent report from that of the others with whom she at first went out. This idea is, in fact, the key to the whole plan of the gospel accounts of this matter, the design of the writers being, not to furnish each a complete narrative of all the incidents in their exact order, but to show that these Galilaean women were, as a company, the first witnesses of Christ's resurrection.

According to the astronomical formula, the duration of distinct twilight at that time of the year in the latitude of Jerusalem (supposing there were no unusual refracting influences in the atmosphere) is 1 hour 40 minutes, which would make extreme daybreak occur about four o'clock, as it was near the time of the vernal equinox. The light of the full moon would enable the women to see their way even before dawn. Mark says "early" (πρωϊv, 16:9), and in the visit of the women he says "very early" (λίαν πρωϊv, 16:2); but the descent of the angel must have occurred first, because the women found the stone rolled away on their arrival. The guard had probably just before been relieved (i.e. at the "dawn-watch," which began at this time of the year about three o'clock A.M., and corresponds in its Greek title to the term here used by Mark), so that they had time to recover from their fright sufficiently to report their disaster without being surprised in their plight by the arrival of a relay. SEE GUARD. The distance the women had to go was not great. SEE MARY MAGDALENE.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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