“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1Ti 3:16).
“For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us” (1Jo 1:2).
God-manifestation is the display of the glory of God within His creation, His fundamental purpose in all creation (Num 14:21). It is particularly seen in the display of His character and attributes. When Adam fell he no longer displayed the image of his Creator as previously, and became estranged (Gen 1:27; 3:24). God’s purpose is that men and women should become even greater manifestations of Himself than Adam and Eve were originally.
God — source of all
No man can see God and live (Exo 33:20; 1Ti 6:16; Joh 1:18). So He has shown Himself by intermediaries, by God-in-manifestation.
God is revealed in the meaning of His Name, Yahweh. The angel in the burning bush spoke to Moses (Exo 3:2) as God: “I am…” (v 6). He explained His Name as signifying “I am That I am” (v 14), or “I will be Who I will be” (RSV), emphasizing that He is a God of the future as well as the present and past (Exo 6:2-8). His Name is a memorial to all future generations (Exo 3:15), most especially to those whom He is creating as manifestations of Himself, and who will become part of the glorified Israel symbolized by the bush which continued burning unconsumed (Psa 22:30; Hos 12:5,6; Isa 53:10; 2Pe 1:4).
He is the Source and Sustainer of all things, and they are created for His glory (1Co 8:6; Acts 17:28; Rom 11:36).
Revealed in the angels
Angels displayed the joy of God (Job 38:7; Luk 2:10-14), carried the Name of God (Gen 16:13; 18:1; Exo 23:20,21), and at the Exodus and at Sinai showed the power and glory of God (Exo 14:19,20; Acts 7:38).
Yahweh’s angel proclaimed His Name and character to Moses, “abundant in goodness and truth”, merciful and forgiving (Exo 34:6,7).
Revealed in Christ
“The Word [or Logos] was God”; that is, the thought, mind and purpose of God was expressed in speech and later personally in Adam’s flesh as the Son of God, “the only begotten of the Father” by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit (Joh 1:1,14,18; 2Sa 7:14; Luk 1:35). As a result he was called Emmanuel, “God with us” (Mat 1:23; Isa 7:14).
One purpose of his manifestation as the Son of God was to destroy the works of the devil (1Jo 3:8; Heb 2:14). It is essential to recognize that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (1Jo 4:2,3; 2Jo 1:7).
Made “in the form of God” by his birth, he is “the image of the invisible God”, “the express image of His person” (Phi 2:6; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3). He has “declared” the Father, and manifested His Name (Joh 1:18; 17:6,26). In him the Father was seen (Joh 12:45).
He brought life for the human race and was thus “the light of men” (Joh 1:4,9; 12:46; 2Co 4:4). This light is not of himself but of the Father, shining “in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Co 4:6; Joh 1:14-17).
By service and suffering he was made perfect, a full manifestation of his Father (Phi 2:7,8; Heb 2:10; 5:8,9). He has therefore been raised to the manifestation of God in Divine nature, inheriting a name greater than angels, and glorifying God in the process (Heb 5:5; 1:4; Phi 2:9-11). He is now the anointed Son of the Father in a greater sense (Acts 13:33; Heb 1:9). He carries the name Yahweh our Righteousness and, particularly when he returns, men will bow to the Father through him, and his glory will be revealed (Isa 45:23; Jer 23:5,6).
“Christadelphians are neither Arians, Socinians, nor Trinitarians; but believers in the ‘great mystery of godliness, Deity manifested in Flesh’, as set forth in ‘the Revelation of the Mystery’, preached by the apostles” (John Thomas).
Revealed in the faithful down the ages
Reception of the Word of God is made the mark of a member of the Elohim, as in the case of the judges of Israel (Joh 10:34-36; Psa 82:1,6; Exo 21:6; 22:8,28).
Immersion into “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mat 28:19) involves understanding, believing and obeying a body of truth defined in the Word of God. By this we become children of God — that is, we are “born from above” (Joh 3:3, mg).
God-manifestation should be part of the daily living of the man or woman of God (1Ti 6:6,11; 2:10). Abiding in the doctrine of Christ is essential, and by it we ‘have’ or manifest both the Father and the Son (2Jo 1:9; 1Jo 5:12).
Even now we are the sons of God (1Jo 3:2), but are being changed into or conformed to the image of God’s Son (2Co 3:18; 4:6,7; Rom 8:29; 1Jo 3:10).
The ecclesia, the one body of Christ, is spiritually one with Christ (1Co 10:16,17; 12:12,13; Gal 3:27,28; Eph 4:12). He is its head and through him its members enter the Name to the glory of God (Eph 5:23,27; Joh 17:22,23).
To be revealed in the saints
- The future manifestation of God in the saints will fulfil promises and prophecies:
- To partake of the Divine Nature, incorruptible and immortal (2Pe 1:4; 1Co 15:53,54; Jam 1:12).
- To reign in glory with Christ in the earth (Dan 7:27; 2Ti 2:12; Rev 5:10).
- Sons of God are being brought to future glory, and by sanctification through Jesus are of the one Father with him (Heb 2:10,11). The full significance of this glory cannot be appreciated by mortal man (1Jo 3:2).
- God’s title “Father of glory” will take on an extended meaning through “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph 1:17,18; Col 1:27).
- We wait for “the glory which shall be revealed in us”, “the manifestation of the sons of God”, “the glorious liberty of the children of God”, “the redemption of our body” (Rom 8:18,19,21,23).
- Today we are either prospective manifestations of God as saints, already bearing some Divine likeness, or manifestations of the natural man, the adversary of God (1Jo 4:4).