What does manifestation mean in the Bible

A manifestation of Jesus

"We do not tire ... but through the manifestation of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience before God" (2 Corinthians 4: 1-2; a. D. English King James Version). The apostle Paul explains that we are called to be a manifestation of the truth. Of course we know that Jesus is that truth. So what does Paul mean when he is essentially saying that we should manifest Jesus?

Paul speaks of a visible expression here. A manifestation is a "radiance" that makes something clear and understandable. In short: Paul is saying that we are called to make Jesus known and understandable to all people. In all of our lives there should be a gleam of nature and resemblance to Christ.

Paul takes this concept of manifesting Christ even further. He says that we are even God's letters to the world: “You are our epistle, written in our hearts, recognized and read by all people! ... the Epistle of Christ ... written not in ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh of your heart ”(3,2-3; a. d. English King James Version). Our lives are letters written by the Holy Spirit and sent to a lost world. And we are constantly being read by those around us.

The fact is, God knew the wicked would not read or understand His written word. The carnal mind simply cannot understand spiritual things. It seems foolish to them. So instead God sent personal letters to an unconverted humanity. But these letters are not written in ink or bound in leather. They are living, breathing, walking writings. And they embody the gospel of Christ, which is “God's power for the salvation of every believer” (Romans 1:16).

You see, the real reason God sent the Holy Spirit was to make Jesus manifest to the world. The Spirit speaks constantly of Christ and makes him clearly recognizable to human understanding. He manifests Jesus in many ways. But God chose to make his Son known to sinners in the most effective way: by revealing him in flesh-and-blood epistles - living messages that can be read by anyone.

How exactly do we become God's letters to the world? It only happens through the work of the Spirit. The moment we are saved, the Holy Spirit shapes the exact image of Jesus in us. And he continues to work on that image within us, at all times. The mission of the Spirit is to forge within us an image of Christ so truthful and accurate that it pierces even people's consciences.

The Holy Spirit does this by grasping our redeemed hearts and devoted bodies and constantly drawing us into Jesus' presence. In the presence of our Lord we are changed. We are forced into holy lives, holy conversations, holy lifestyles. And if we spend more time with him, then his image in us becomes stronger. Eventually our lives become such a powerful manifestation of Jesus that those around us are touched and moved.

What an incredible word Paul gave us here. He is saying that it is possible to become such shining lights of Christ that we literally strike people's consciences. "By manifesting the truth, we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience before God" (2 Corinthians 4: 2). We are to become so much like Jesus through the person of the Holy Spirit, reflecting his purity so much that others cannot help but be convicted. Christ's image in us breaks through every wall they have built - every idol, sin, and evil - and touches our conscience.

Now, Paul is not talking about preaching or bearing witness here. He says nothing at all about distributing religious tracts or holding revival services. Of course, such missionary efforts are important. But none of these tools can by themselves touch the branded conscience of evil sinners. It is possible to use these things for evangelism and yet not bring about a piercing manifestation of Christ.

Consider what Jesus said on this subject. He tells us that one can partake of miraculous manifestations that are not true manifestations of oneself: “Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord! Have we not prophesied by your name, and cast out demons by your name, and done many miracles by your name? And then I will confess to them: I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers! ”(Matthew 7: 22-23).

This proves that on the day of Jesus people will have seen great manifestations: people cast out demons, healed the sick, worked miracles. And crowds flocked to witness these things. But such manifestations did not always touch people's consciences. Why? Those who did it did not always look like Jesus. Therefore "they could not" "recommend" themselves to the deepest needs of the crowd. The manifestations that these people brought were not of Christ, but of carnal signs and wonders.

You may ask, “Are you implying that God cannot reach the conscience of the unsaved through preaching and evangelism?” Of course, I am not saying that. Our God can reach any person by any means He chooses. But he does so on one condition: that the individuals who bring his gospel live out a manifestation of the truth. A person can be a fluent public speaker or the most biblically knowledgeable preacher on earth. But those things won't matter at all unless he has an intimate walk with Jesus. If Christ's presence has not transformed us into his image, we are just a resounding cymbal.

All over this nation, Christians are praying for revival. Many expect the Holy Ghost to fall on their communities and convert crowds. They want to see God sweep sinners into their churches and fill the seats. But this type of prayer can be shirking. Often times when revival doesn't come, people will say, “It's not our fault. We fasted and prayed. We scoured the whole area with invitations. But God did not see fit to send revival. It's his problem, not ours. ”They place the responsibility entirely on the Lord.

I believe that God answers, “Oh no, I'm not going to play this game. You will personally take responsibility for your testimony of me. I want every member of my body to be a shining revelation from my Son. You are responsible for how you introduce me to your families, friends, neighbors and colleagues. "

Simply put, revival begins when those around you see Jesus in you. And that is exactly what God is looking for. You can spend hours praying for an awakening in the ward. But all the while, your daily thoughts, actions, and conversations can give you away. If you fail to fully manifest Jesus, all else will be in vain.

How do you manifest Jesus to touch the consciences of the unsaved?

How can we shine even brighter to become a manifestation of the truth? How can our life become such a clear picture of Jesus that we induce conviction and hunger for God in others?

We find the key to this in Ezekiel 44. As Ezekiel looks to the last days prophetically, he sees two types of priesthood that exist in the ward. One is the righteous zadok priesthood. Zadok was a godly servant who served Israel under King David's reign. And he remained loyal to David through good times and bad. Zadok's upright life was a real role model for all other priests. I have been preaching on the zadok priesthood for nearly twenty years.

The other priesthood Ezekiel sees in the last days is the Eli priesthood. Eli was an unfaithful priest who allowed corruption to enter God's house. He was disobedient to God's word, gentle on sin, and lazy about holiness. And service under him was spoiled by sensuality and love for the world. The lifestyle of these priests caused the wicked to abhor the things of God and to mock true worship. The Lord called this corrupt priesthood: "Levites who strayed from me when Israel went astray, when they strayed from me, following their idols" (Ezekiel 44:10).

This Eli priesthood represents compromising Christians in these last days. You have no power to touch people's consciences. And their lifestyle causes the wicked to turn away from the Lord: "They caused the house of Israel to fall into unrighteousness" (44:12; King James Version). These flesh-driven believers go to church and claim to be followers of Christ. They even believe that they are part of a holy priesthood. But their conversations and easy life are despicable in God's sight.

Such people are impure manifestations of who Jesus is. Sinners say of them, “This person calls himself a Christian. But every time I'm around he tells dirty stories. He always wants to talk about dirty, violent movies he's seen. How can he truly be a Christian? He cannot be compared with Jesus. "

Remember that Jesus calls us “kings and priests to his God and Father” (Revelation 1: 6, King James Version). And the apostle Peter reminds us: "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood ... You ... are also built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2: 9, 5; ad King James Version) . I ask you: What priesthood describes your life? The godly Zadok priesthood or the corrupt Eli priesthood? These two services represent two types of manifestations. And they present Jesus to the world in two very different ways.

Paul pointed to two different gospels: the gospel of Christ and the "other gospel". He said that those who manifest that "other" gospel have been bewitched. Somewhere along the way, they strayed from the truth. Perhaps they were clinging to an idol or holding onto a hidden sin. And now their compromising lives are causing people to reject their testimony.

A half-hearted manifestation of Jesus at home creates a passive heart in the children

It's sad but true: many Christian parents send their children straight to hell. Papa is supposed to be the priest at home. And mother is also a member of God's royal priesthood. So which of these two priesthoods are you manifesting: Zadoks or Elis?

For years I was a youth evangelist traveling the nation serving thousands of young people. During this time I had conversations with many troubled youth from Christian homes. These kids had turned their backs on the church completely. They didn't want anything to do with their parents' religion. They spoke of the furious battles between their mums and dads, of obvious hypocrisy, of terrible gossip, of hidden sins. They heard constant grumbling and complaining about their clergy, about parishioners, about friends of the family.

Usually the father was active in the church in such cases. The people saw him as given and full of Jesus. But his children knew how to read his life, and they saw him for who he really was: a dazzler. He treated her mother badly with foul language. Or he had a secret hiding place with pornographic magazines. Or he was caught watching dirty videos.

Such a papa serves under the Eli priesthood. He has no spiritual authority. And with that he doesn't get any respect. He may preach to his children, threaten them, or try to obtain obedience. But he's wasting his breath. It will all be of no use.

We see this illustrated in Eli's life. Eli had two sons named Hofni and Pinhas, who also served as priests. God called these two men "sons of Belial", or children of the devil. They had the audacity to fornicate women at the temple door. They even brought prostitutes to God's house. But Eli never dealt with his sons because of their sin. He never spoke to them more than an empty word of warning. After all, he knew that whatever he told them would be in vain because of his own spiritual indolence.

Today more Christian young people are alcoholics than ever before. Some parents have brought their teenagers to me for help. Too often, when I talk to these kids in person, they laugh at their parents' concern about their drinking. “My papa and my mom always had a wine stash,” they say. “They would drink and then pray. My people exposed me to this substance. I didn't start drinking from pressure from my peers. I became an alcoholic at home. "Others tell me," My dad is always on my neck because of pot smoking. But he drinks all the time. That's pot liquid. "

Even more tragic: I see a passivity towards Jesus in these kids. When the Holy Ghost moves during the church services, they sit motionless. The sermon may be convicting, but the young people are left untouched. I have to ask myself: what made it so hardened? How did they get so disinterested in the things of God? They're not deeply depraved kids or God haters. In fact, many are kind and giving. But sadly, her life is a complete spiritual space. I can only conclude that they have not seen a true manifestation of Jesus at home.

The Eli priesthood serves people “before their idols” (Ezekiel 44:12)

Ezekiel tells us that the priests in Eli's ministry brought defilement into God's house (see Ezekiel 44: 7). "Strangers, uncircumcised in heart" brought hideous idols into the sanctuary. And the priests “served the people before their idols” (Ezekiel 44:12). This means that the pastors approved of the idolatry of the people. These priests finally made it easy for God's people in their sin.

This theme, “Serving Before Idols,” should strike every Christian. You see, our homes are meant to be holy sanctuaries where the Lord is exalted. And no idol or abomination should be tolerated in them. “And you are not to bring any abominations into your house, so that you become spellbound like him. You shall abhor it as abominable and consider it abominable, for it is banned ”(Deuteronomy 7:26; with footnote).

This is the section where God directed me to deal with him when he told me years ago to get rid of our family's television. The Holy Spirit revealed that if I were to experience the fulness of Christ and continue to speak prophetically, I would have to break this idol. After all, if I clung to anything despicable, I wouldn't even be able to serve my own family. That was the time when I realized that the television would become a powerful weapon of the enemy. Satan would use it to dim the light of the Spirit of God in the hearts and minds of a multitude of Christians.

Of course, that goes back a long way when television was bland by today's standards. The most popular shows were: "I love Lucy", "The Honeymooners", and "The Andy Griffith Show". The word "sex" couldn't even be mentioned. The television viewers of that time could not even have imagined the content of today's programs: blatant nudity, bloody violence, provocative sex, the glorification of adultery and homosexuality, the mockery of evangelicals.

Now I would like to bring up an equally important topic: Is your child's room a den of injustice? Are its shelves full of sensual rap CDs and videos? Do you know what kind of music he downloads from the internet? Are you sure he's not surfing pornographic websites or even talking to perverted adults in chat rooms?

Perhaps your child is watching adult filth on cable TV in your own living room. They say to yourself, “I only got cable TV because of CNN News or the Discovery Channel. But if you don't monitor what your children are taking in, you are not manifesting Christ to them.A recent government agency report recommended that parents bring their children's computers into the living room. This would reduce the risk of coming into contact with a pedophile. This was not advice from any preacher but from the government.

Don't misunderstand me here: the point is not to withdraw from society. In fact, it is the exact opposite: to be a manifestation of the truth of Jesus in every area of ​​life. Our God wants to make us living, breathing Bibles for the world. So how can we sit in cinemas and drink in shows that glorify violence - a sin God hates? How can we tolerate blatant curses against the name of our Savior? How can we passively sit by when sensual, seductive images are displayed before our eyes? How can any Christian believe that he could rise from a seat of despisers with a pure heart and radiate a manifestation of Christ?

That is not legalism. It is a manifestation of Christ. And it is avoiding becoming an Eli who was soft on sin. God said of this priesthood: “You shall not draw near to me ... to draw near to all my holy things, the most holy things” (Ezekiel 44:13).

Ezekiel prophesied of a zadok priesthood in these last days

“The priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who served my sanctuary when the sons of Israel strayed from me, they should approach me to serve me and should stand before me ... They should be in mine Sanctuary ... come in and serve me ”(Ezekiel, 44: 15-16). What God is saying, in essence, is, “In the last days I will have a zadok priesthood made up of servants according to my own heart. And unlike the Eli Priesthood, they will come near and serve me. "

Paul writes: “Because we have this ministry [to manifest Christ] ... we have renounced the secret of which one must be ashamed and walk not in malice, nor do we falsify the word of God, but through the revelation of the truth ”(2 Corinthians 4: 1-2). Paul says that to manifest Christ implies giving up all hidden dishonesty and all secret sin. In short, these things reflect Ezekiel's prophecy: God's Zadok servants will reject Eli's ways, abandon all idols, turn to God with renewed passion, be more and more separated from the Lord, and choose to reflect his glory.

You may ask yourself, where do Zadok priests find the strength to do these things? How do you cite the ability to completely get rid of the atrocities in your life while Eli priests openly drink of such poison? What must happen to these true servants to induce them to cling to Jesus in the midst of such compromises?

Simply put, Zadok priests are transformed and empowered by locking themselves in with Christ. You spend quality time in his presence. As a result, they have found their calling: to draw near to Jesus and serve him in his presence. How do you serve the Lord? The word Ezekiel uses for "serve" is "sharath" (see Ezekiel 44: 15-16). It means “wait” or “serve”, and “worship”. In short: it speaks of zealous devotion.

I read of such devotion in the New York Times recently. A reporter was sent to a new Hindu temple in Pomona, New York. The temple was built for the god Vishnu, who is worshiped by many Asian immigrants. The reporter described seeing a Hindu priest serving this god. First the priest entered the inner sanctum, or holy place. Then he knelt for hours in front of a granite portrait of Vishnu. The god lies on the coils of a five-headed cobra where he is protected by the heads of the serpent. The reporter wrote: “The priest came out of that holy place hours later, drained and blissful as a victorious warrior. He was covered in sweat and carried a withered garland of flowers under his arm. "

I often wonder if God gets jealous of this kind of devotion. While priests of other religions serve lifeless idols, a multitude of God's people are preoccupied with the things of this world. We only give him remnants of our time in our hasty, leftover moments.

The sons of Zadok come to God's table to serve him

“They shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, says the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 44:15). Notice the two things Ezekiel mentioned here: the fat and the blood.

1. The "fat" represents the best part of a victim. It refers to the animal sacrifice that the priests offered: “The priest should let them go up in smoke on the altar:“ A food of the fire offering as a pleasant smell. All fat belongs to the Lord. An eternal order in your generations in all your homes: You are not allowed to eat any fat or blood! ”(Leviticus 3: 16-17). The fat was considered the preferred part of the animal sacrifice. God was saying to his people: "I want you to bring me the best that you have to offer."

Today our offering is worship and devotion to the Lord. And God tells us, just like He said to Israel, “I want the best of your life. I don't want you to just give me the hours of tiredness and exhaustion. I want your worship and service when your mind and body are in the best possible condition. I want the best of everything you have to offer. "

In short, we serve the Lord every time we put Him first. We serve him whenever we step away from our activities, desires, and affairs to be with him - whenever we stop all important things and steal away to worship him - whenever we brush aside every thought and think of him alone. That brings him the "fat," the best part of us. The Bible even calls this fat “the bread of God”. In other words, we nourish the Lord whenever we make him more important than anything else.

2. The “blood” Ezekiel speaks of represents a life given to God. It means absolute consecration, the product of all of our lives. In essence, we serve the Lord every time we rely on the power of the blood of Christ. And we should do that in every situation and crisis. You see, using Jesus' blood is not a one-time experience. It's a daily necessity. We are to rely on the power of his blood every time we need healing, peace of mind, cleansing from sin. In any circumstance, we should stand firmly on the promises God made us through the shed blood of His Son. We should stand on his rights, cleansed, redeemed, unshakable.

The Lord calls these sacrifices of fat and blood "a sweet aroma" (Leviticus 3:16; King James Version), which means: a sweet taste for his lips. The Lord receives this “sweet aroma” whenever we give Jesus the “fat” and “blood” of our lives: by giving our bodies as living sacrifices and trusting in the blood of Christ as our victory. We even feed God with something sweet for His taste.

Only when we do these things will we fully manifest Jesus. And only then will our lives be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and touch the consciences of everyone around us.

Bible passages - unless otherwise stated - based on the Elberfeld Bible 2006. The verse numbers given may differ in some editions of the Bible.