The Spirit of God travels along many lines in His distinctive ministry to bring us to the terminus of God’s revelation about His Son, and one such line is found in what He says regarding the purpose of Christ’s manifestation.
The Greek words, “Phaino,” “Phaneros,” and “Phaneroo,” rendered “appear” and “manifest,” signify to show, to lighten, to shine upon, to disclose, to exhibit, and to reveal. The words are used to describe “a light that shineth” (II Peter 1:19); to give a reward “openly” (Matthew 6:4) for what has been done in secret; to come “abroad” Mark 4:22); to make a person “known” by announcing his presence (Mark 3:12); to exhibit anything to another so that it can be said it has been “shewed” unto him (Romans 1:19); to reveal, as when the Apostle said, “The life of Jesus was made manifest in our mortal flesh ” (II Corinthians 4:10); and to appear before another, as when Christ “appeared” unto the eleven disciples in the Upper Room (Mark 16:14).
There are, at least, fourteen truths brought before us, covering a complete course of Biblical study, in connection with Christ’s manifestation.
- God, or Christ the Manifestation of God’s Person — “God manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). Christ is God expressed in living characters. God is not fully known apart from Christ, but He is well known if we know Him. He is the visibility of God.
- Sin, or Christ the Revealer of sin’s iniquity — “The Light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5). The Light revealed the sightless eyes of man’s ignorance, the evil of his nature, and the plague spots of his wickedness.
- Love, or Christ the Manifestation of God’s love — “In this was manifested the love of God toward us,” etc. (I John 4:9). Love is seen in three stages in I John 4:9-I7: Love for us, answering for our sins in the past (verse 9); Love in us, moving us to love in the present (verse 12); and Love with us, giving us a bright outlook as to the future (verse 17, margin).
- Atonement, or Christ the Satisfaction for sin — “Once in the end of the world He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Provisionally He puts away sin by giving satisfaction for it in His death, and thus removes it as a hindrance. Substitutionally He removes sin as a penalty, as we believe in Him (I Peter 2:24). Effectively He puts away sin as a power, as we identify ourselves with Him, by reckoning we are dead to it (Romans 6:8-11). Prophetically He will remove sin as a presence, for He is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.
- Substitution, or Christ suffering in our stead — “He was manifested in these last times for you” (I Peter 1:20). “For you” may be read, “On your behalf,” and thus in your stead. We must distinguish between Provision, Substitution, and Identification. Provision is for the needy world, for Christ has made it possible for all to be saved. Substitution is for the believing sinner, for Christ has borne his sin and he will not have to bear it. Identification is the Gospel for the saint, for we have died with Christ in His death.
- Resurrection, or Christ the Manifestation of God’s power — “He shewed
Himself” (John 20:1-14). The fact of Christ’s resurrection is the living flame
which ever burns on the altar of Christianity, and it is also a living factor
in the life of the believer which lifts him from the realm of self to the
fellowship of Him Who lives in the power of an endless life.
- Salvation — “The grace of God which bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared” (Titus 2:11, margin). Provisionally, salvation is a blessing offered to all. Personally, salvation is a benefit to the individual believer. Practically, salvation is a force to mould us like to Christ In the first, Christ is offered to us (Acts 13:26); in the second, Christ is accepted by us (Ephesians 2:8); and in the third, Christ by the Spirit lives in us (Ephesians 3:16,17).
- Life, or Christ the Communicator of Life — “The life was manifested” (I John 1:2). Sin brings death, which means separation from God. Christ brings life, which means union with God in Christ (John 17:3). As natural life is the union of the spirit and body (James 2:26), so spiritual life is the union of the believer with Christ (Colossians 3:3). Christ is revealed to us as the Quickener from sin’s death (Ephesians 2:1); He is revealed in us as the Sanctifier of heart and life (Galatians 1:16), and He is revealed through us to others by a consecrated testimony (I Thessalonians 1:8-10).
- Power — “Manifested forth His glory” (John 2:11). Glory is the excellence of anything in display. Christ’s first miracle displayed the excellence of His power. It is fitting that His first miracle should display His power to change things. By the cleansing of His blood and the conformation of His Spirit He can change the sinner into a saint. Translation, transfiguration, and transformation cover the ground of God’s Gospel of grace, godliness and glory. Translated into His Kingdom, as to place (Colossians 1:13); transfigured by His Spirit, as to character (II Corinthians 3:18, RV); and transformed by His coming as to the glorified body (Philippians 3:20,21; I John 3:2).
- Satan, or Christ was the victor over the Evil One — “The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil ” (I John 3:8). The works of Satan are mighty and manifold, but Christ has met him upon his own ground and conquered and routed him. Take but one chapter out of the Gospels, and in it we have a record of how Satan raised a storm, demonized an individual, tormented a woman, and caused the death of a child. But Christ raised the dead to life, healed the woman, delivered the man, and stilled the tempest (Luke 8).
- Emancipation, or Christ is the Remover of sins — “He was manifested to take away sins” (I John 3:5). The word for “take away” is rendered “removed” in Matthew 21: 21, “loosing” in Acts 27:13, “lifted up” in John 11:41, and “take away” in John 11:39. The word signifies to take away, by taking up upon one’s self, and is so indicated in John 1:29, where the margin reads, “beareth away.” Christ removes the sins from us by His propitiation and power, by bearing their consequence in His death, and by severing us from their control by His presence.
- The Holy Spirit, or Christ is the One, Who endowed and Who is endowing with the Spirit — “He was manifest” (John 1:31). John knew Christ when he saw the Spirit resting upon Him, and knew that He was also the baptizer with the Spirit. Christ was anointed to do a definite work (Acts 10:38: Hebrews 9:14), and when He accomplished that work, became the Anointer with the Spirit as a reward (Acts 2:33)
- The Father, or Christ the Revealer of the Father — “I have manifested Thy name” (John 17:6). John 17 reveals what that manifestation means:
A work done for us to the Father (verse 4),
The blessing of eternal life from the Father (verse 2),
Confidence in the Father (verse 8),
Possessed by the Father (verses 9,10),
Kept through the Father (verse 11),
Message from the Father (verse 14),
Sanctified in the Father’s truth (verse 17),
Oneness with the Father (verse 21),
and Seeing the glory of the Father (verse 22).
- Immortality. Christ is the Bringer of life and immortality to light (II Timothy 1:10). Life is more than perpetuity of existence — immortality is more than deathlessness. The latter is a state of holiness and bliss, in an incorruptible and glorified body, from which it is impossible to fall, and this life is holy in its nature and joyous in its bliss.
The Revelation which God makes to us in the Scriptures, is meant to be revealed in us by the Spirit through faith, and revealed through us by His effective working in our testimony.
This page Copyright © 2000 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/. Check out our Bookstore.