Manifestation (!)

By Charles H. Welch

Manifestation. Two Greek words are translated "manifestation" , phanerosis (1 Cor. 12:7, 2 Cor. 4:2) and apokalupsis (Rom. 8:19). We are not here concerned with the word translated "manifest" in such a passage as 1 Corinthians 15:27, which should be translated "it is evident", as in Galatians 3:11; our concern is with the words that are used in relation to the hope that lies before the believer. We are not concerned with "revelation" as the utterance of an oracle, as Luke 2:26, but only with its use in connexion with the hope and the Second Coming of Christ. Both words "manifest" and "reveal" suggest something hidden, but the figure underlying the words derived from phaneroo, "to be made manifest", is that of light, whereas the figure underlying the words derived from apokalupto, "to be revealed", is that of a veil. There are two passages of Scripture that state in plain terms the relationship of "manifestation" with light.

"Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should he reproved (margin, "discovered" elegcho). But he that doeth truth cometh to the light. that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John 3:20,21).

"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. but rather reprove them . . .things . . .done . . .in secret (krupto, to hide). But all things that are reproved (margin "discovered", elegcho) are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light" (Eph. 5:11-13).

Two passages that we have in mind particularly are Colossians 3:4 and Titus 2:13.

"When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory."

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Here the verb phaneroo is translated "appear" and the A.V. uses "appear" and "manifest", interchangeably. It seems that we should come to some conc1usion as to the choice of word for the translation of phaneroo, for the two English words "appear" and "manifest" are not strictly synonymous. We cannot entirely disassociate a sense of movement with the word "appear", neither can we completely set aside the thought of an "appearance" in its twofold sense. In the passages where phaneroo occurs, there is no sense of movement, but rather of something being made c1ear and visible by a beam of light. There is attached to the word "manifest", ideas relating to evidence and proof, as we have already seen by comparing 1 Corinthians 15:27 with Galatians 3:11.

The English word "appear" means primarily "to become visible", the English word "manifest" primarily means "to be palpable", and hence a "manifesto", a proof, hence, of evidence, a public dec1aration, but in no sense an "appearing" or an "appearance". The intention of John 3:21 or Ephesians 5:13, is something deeper than mere appearance, but we may never find a word in our language that will entirely rid it of some measure of ambiguity. We must accept this limitation of speech, and avoid drawing erroneous conc1usions. The epistle to the Colossians contains another passage where the words "bid" and "manifest" are found, and which must be inc1uded in those passages that provide us with evidence of the meaning of terms employed.

"Even the Mystery which hath been Hid from ages and from generations, but now is made MANIFEST to His saints" (Col. 1:26).

The value of this reference is that it links up with a parallel passage in Ephesians:

"To make all men see what is the dispensation of the Mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been bid in God" (Eph. 3:9, R.V.).

The words "to make all men see" are obviously synonymous with "to make manifest to His saints". Now the word thus translated in Ephesians 3:9 is photizo, translated in Ephesians 1:18 "enlighten", and in Hebrews 10:32 "illuminated". It is therefore made abundantly c1ear, that whether we use the word "manifest" or "appear" the underlying thought of illumination must never be absent from our thoughts.

Phaino, the root which supplies phaneroo means "to appear" and is derived from phos, "light". There are far too many occurrences of the words that are derived from Phaino to attempt an extended concordance, but we feel it would be right to give at least one example of each.

Phaino and its derivatives

Phaino "appear" (Matt. 2:7); "shine" (2 Pet. 1:19).
Phaneros "openly" (Matt. 6:4); "outward" (Rom. 2:28); manifest" (1 Cor. 3:13).
Phaneroo "appear" (Mark 16:12); "manifest" (John 17:6); "show" (Rom. 1:19).
Phaneros (adverb) "openly" (John 7:10); "evidently" (Acts 10:3).

phanerosis "manifestation" (1 Cor. 12:7; 2 Cor. 4:2).

Phantazomai "sight" (Heb. 12:21); phantasia "pomp" (Acts 25:23).
Phantasma "spirit", ("phantom") (Matt. 14:26; Mark 6:49).
Epiphaino "to give light" (Luke 1:79); "appear" (Tit. 2:11).
Epiphaneia "brightness" (2 Thess. 2:8); "appearing" (2 Tim. 4:1).
Epiphanes "notable" (Acts 2:20).
Emphanes "openly" (Acts 10:40).
Emphanizo "declare plainly" (Heb. 11:14).
Exaiphnes "suddenly" (Acts 22:6); exapina "suddenly" (Mark 9:8).

Katepheia "heaviness" (Jas. 4:9); prophasis "pretence" (phil. 1:18); "cloke" (1 Thess. 2:5).

Huperephaneia "pride" (Mark 7:22); huperephanos "proud" (Luke 1:51), and seven other combinations with "a" the negative.

Let us return now to Colossians three. The reference to "appearing with Christ in glory" is preceded by a statement equally wonderful. "For ye are dead, and your life is bid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). The R.V. more correctly reads "For ye died". To say "ye are dead", to modern ears, is almost the same as saying, "Ye are at this moment dead and will never be other than dead". To say "ye died" points back to an act, and leads the mind to that blessed doctrine of identification "with Christ" whereby the believer is said to have been "crucified with Christ", "died with Christ", "buried with Him", quickened, raised and seated together with Him, and here at last "manifested with Him in glory".

"Your life is hid with Christ in God". The word "with" demands that the verb "hid" shall be true of both "your life" and "Christ". The passage does not say "your life is hid IN Christ" but assuredly affirms that Christ is hid in God as much as your life is hid in God. Both your life and Christ are at this moment "hid", the day of the manifestation of both is about to dawn, and then comes the glorious change:

"Hid together with Christ"
"Appear together with Him"
"In God".
"In glory".

The two sets of statements being linked by the words "When . . . then". Here, in Colossians 3:3,4 the blessed hope of the church of the Mystery is made known. Some believers are to meet the Lord in the air, that will be "in glory", but some are to be made manifest with Him in that glory which is associated with the right hand of God. One star differs from another, "in glory". We must be acquainted with "the three spheres" of blessing, and to the article bearing that name the reader should turn, if at all uncertain of the peculiar character of the hope set before us in Colossians three. Other articles that should be consulted are APPEARING, and HOPE.

An Alphabetical Analysis

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