“And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.”
A friend has desired us to explain how Christ was seen of the twelve, after his resurrection, seeing that the time which seems to be referred to was after the apostasy of Judas, and before Matthias or Paul were numbered with the apostles. We have had very little reflection on this subject; nor does it appear to us to be a matter of much importance, any farther than it may involve the accuracy of the apostle’s statement in chronicling a matter of history. The vitally important fact of the resurrection of the crucified body of Christ from the dead was what the apostle was laboring to establish beyond all reasonable controversy, by testimony of the most convincing kind. Peter, who is called Cephas, had actually seen him in his resurrected body from his crucifixion, and after that he appeared to the disciples on the evening of the first day, and again after eight days, when Thomas was present. But at that time the literal number of the apostles present was eleven. Still we know that the apostles were very frequently called, The Twelve, as a name by which the apostles were designated from other disciples. Whether Paul here used the word twelve as a proper noun, or name, signifying, The Apostles without reference to the number literally which were then and there present, or not, is of no very great importance to us, seeing that we know that subsequently to the time referred to when Cephas first saw him, after his resurrection, he was really seen by all the apostles, including Paul himself; as he says in the eighth verse, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” Hence, all the twelve apostles were qualified as competent witnesses, for they all had ocular demonstration that he was risen indeed. As the great theme of their preaching was Christ and the resurrection, they were to speak that which they knew to be true, and to testify that which they had seen; so that every one of them had a personal knowledge of his resurrection, as they all had seen him from his resurrection, in his risen body. And although Paul was as one born out of due time, yet not too late to see the risen Redeemer.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 200 - 201