Manifestations of the Word of God

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God”
(John 1:1).

Introduction

What is the Word of God?

What does the Bible say?

Many people think the Word of God is the Bible, but that is never what the Word of God means in the Bible itself. Jesus and the New Testament writers refer to the Old Testament either as the Scriptures, or as the Law or as the Prophets. Nowhere does the Bible ever call itself the Word of God.

The word of God is infinitely bigger than the Bible. The Bible contains only 66 books. John wrote that if everything that Jesus did were written, “I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). That’s a lot more than 66 books!

I have explained this in more detail in The Scriptures and the Word of God.

So what is the Word of God?

We must look deeper.

Word and Spirit

The first chapter of Genesis tell us of two things that emanate from God: spirit and word. We must consider the meanings of these two words.

Spirit (Breath)

In Gen 1:2 we read, “The רוּחַ (ruach) of God moved upon the face of the waters”. What does this Hebrew word רוּחַ (ruach) mean? Its primary meaning is wind. From this it came to mean breath because breath is like wind that comes out of a person’s mouth. To this it then adds the meaning spirit.

The Hebrew word ruach, the Greek word πνευμα (pneuma) and the Latin word spiritus all mean breath, wind or spirit.

Does God have a mouth like a human being? And does air come out of it? Obviously not; but this is the best that human language can do to describe what comes from God.

Breath is also a picture of life. All living creatures breathe. When breath stops, life has gone.

Word

Word, in most English Bibles, translates the Hebrew word דָּבָר (davar) and the Greek word λογος (logos); but word is not a good translation. Both davar and λογος are much wider in meaning than word in English. No one English word can cover their full range of meaning.

Davar primarily means something spoken, a word or a sentence or more. It also has the simple meaning of thing.The Word of God can therefore mean anything God speaks or anything else that comes from God. John 1:1 actually says, “The Word was God”. For Strong’s definition of davar, see davar.

The Greek word λογος is also much wider in meaning than word in English and includes the ideas of thought, discourse, and conversation. In the book of Acts and elsewhere in the New Testament, λογος often simply means the gospel. Many modern translations translate λογος as message where appropriate. For Strong’s definition of λογος, see λογος.

Seed

Word and seed are closely related in Scripture. When Jesus interpreted the parable of the sower to his disciples, he said, “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). Peter used similar language: “you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1Pet 1:23).

A seed is one of the most remarkable things in the universe. The size of a human sperm cell is about half a thousandth of a millimetre. You would have to magnify it 200 times to make it visible to the naked eye. Yet this tiny seed carries vast amounts of information. It contains exact details of the father’s character, mind and body. Obviously the seed contains details of the father’s outward features, such as the colour of his skin, his eyes and his hair and the shape and size of his body. It also contains his invisible features such as his brain, his character and his nature.

Seed is an amazing manifestation of the wisdom of the word of God. Later we will see how natural seed is a picture of spiritual seed. Jesus perfectly reproduced the character and attributes of his father.

Four Manifestations of the Word of God

As we look through the pages of Scripture and the history of God’s dealings with man, we find progressive manifestations of the Word of God. We will look at four main manifestations.

1. The Word of God in Creation

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host” (Ps 33:6).

Genesis chapter one tells the story of creation. God created everything by speaking. His word took physical form.

God’s first recorded words are, “Let there be light”. The result was an unimaginably large burst of radiation or energy, which scientists describe as the Big Bang. Light is simply one form of radiation at a particular wavelength that our eyes are able to detect. Radio waves and other waves are invisible to us.

This Big Bang was equivalent to a massive nuclear explosion on a scale beyond all imagination. No scientist can explain where this energy came from. I believe it originated in a word, a davar, a ‘thing’ that came from God. All the matter contained in the whole universe came into existence in a brief moment of time. This matter formed stars and galaxies. The word (davar, λογος) of God has unimaginable power.

Nuclear reactions transformed this matter into atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, iron, silver, gold and all the other elements that make up our world. All this happened according to laws of physics and chemistry that God had devised. These laws were part of the word (λογος) of God.

Planets formed round some of these stars and God selected one particular planet for very special purposes - our earth.

God spoke and created life on this planet. No scientist can explain the transition from inorganic matter to organic life even in its simplest form. Only a word of God could achieve that.

God created laws of biology and evolution and through these laws the minutest living organisms evolved into the whole plant and animal kingdom. These laws were an expression of the word of God. Scientists have discovered and understood many of these laws in the last two centuries, but most scientists have failed to discover the Law-maker.

The most complicated thing in the universe is the human brain. It has 100 billion neurons and each neuron is connected to 10,000 other neurons! But, can you believe it, all the information needed to create this brain is contained in one minute seed of human semen. Amazingly, this brain then contains the specific characteristics of its two parents.

God spoke a further word, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26 ). This, I believe, was the culmination of God’s creation process. He had, after long ages of evolution, finally prepared a body that was fit for a human being made in his image. “A body have you prepared for me” (Heb 10:5). This was the climax of his creation of the natural world.

All this is summarised by one statement in the Bible : “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God” (Heb 11:3).

The word of God has immense power, immense wisdom and immense imagination.

The manifestation of the Word of God in creation was utterly amazing, but the manifestations of the Word of God which were to follow were more amazing still.

2. The Word of God in Human Language

After God created man, we see a completely new manifestation of the word of God. The word of God was now manifested in human language - in Hebrew. The Scriptures record the words that God spoke.

Throughout the Old Testament God spoke to his chosen people through the mouths of many prophets and men and women of God. The sentence “the word of the Lord came to ...” occurs 92 times in the Old Testament. Here are just a few:

Central to the Old Testament is the law or torah; and central to the law are the Ten Commandments. These are known in Hebrew as the ten davars or ten words.

The laws which God gave through Moses were excellent and vastly superior to the laws of any other people on earth. David testified concerning the law and said, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 17:9), but sadly it could not achieve its purpose. The law itself was perfect, but God’s chosen people, the Jews, were not. They broke every one of the ten commandments. God had to give a further manifestation of his word. As Jeremiah said, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah ... I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jer 31:31,33). The word had to be made flesh.

3. The Word of God Made Flesh

In the New Testament, God continues to speak; but a great change takes place. We read that “the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness” (Luke 3:2), but that is the last time we meet those words. Why? Jesus gives us the explanation: “The Law and the Prophets were until John” (Luke 16:16).

John begins his gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). He goes on to say, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

The opening words of Hebrews are: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the universe” (Heb 1:1,2).

We see from these two references that it was the same Word of God (the davar Elohim - the λογος Θεου) that created the universe and was manifested in the flesh as Jesus.

How was Jesus born, or rather conceived? He was born from three things: the word, the spirit and the seed.

Jesus was totally unique. No one like him had ever walked the earth before. So great was the difference between him and his predecessors that he even said, “All who came before me are thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). What a statement!

Under the Old Covenant, the word of God came to prophets and men of God. That in itself was wonderful, but the word of God only came to them. It did not remain in them.

Jesus was completely different. Search through the four gospels and you will never find the words, “The word of God came to Jesus”. The word of God never came to him. Instead, the word of God was in him and came out from him. He, himself, was the word of God. Paul wrote, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2Cor 5:19).

Jesus was the son of his father. The seed of his father, which is the word of God, was in him, with the result that he manifested all the characteristics and attributes of his father. What are those attributes? The three greatest attributes of God are his wisdom, his love and his power. Jesus manifested all of these.

Jesus manifested the wisdom of God. At the age of twelve he talked with the rabbis in the temple and “all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers” (Luke 2:47). Officers who were sent to arrest him said, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46). No one could defeat him or trap him in an argument. In every situation he shewed the wisdom of God.

Jesus manifested the power of God. No situation was beyond his ability to handle. He could overrule all the laws of nature. No wine? He turned water into wine. No food? He multiplied the loaves and fishes. No boat? He walked on the water. A tempest on the sea of Galilee? He told it to be quiet. His friend Lazarus dead? He commanded him to walk out of the tomb.

Jesus manifested the love of God. For three years he walked the land of Israel shewing love and compassion in healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead and casting out demons. He finally made the ultimate sacrifice to save the human race from sin. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

4. The Word of God in his People

Jesus was the firstborn of many brethren. He was a prototype of God’s new creation. God did not plan that Jesus should be an only child. He intended Jesus to be the first child of a large family of brothers and sisters.

How was this family to be born? Jesus and Peter both spoke about the new birth.

Jesus spoke in detail, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:3-7).

Peter wrote, “you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1Pet 1:23).

John wrote: “No one who is born of God commits sin; for his seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1John 3:9).

We see the same three features in the births of God’s new family that we see in the birth of Jesus: the word, the spirit and the seed. The births of the younger members of the family are just like the birth of their elder brother. Throughout nature it is normal for younger siblings to grow to the same stature as their elder brother.

What does this mean? It means that just as our elder brother Jesus manifested the attributes and characteristics of his Father, we also should manifest those characteristics. Jesus demonstrated the power of God. We also should demonstrate the same power. Jesus showed the wisdom of God. So also should we. Jesus was filled with the love of God. We should be the same. Jesus summed this up in one clear statement: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

God’s plan was to have multiple reproductions of Jesus. All his spiritual offspring were to be just like him. The word was made flesh in Jesus and that process needed to be repeated. The word had to be made flesh in all his brothers and sisters of whom he was the firstborn.

Soon before his departure, Jesus spoke about the seed. When he was in Jerusalem for his final Passover, some Greeks who had heard about him wanted to see him (John 12:20-25). Jesus gave an enigmatic and apparently irrelevant response, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat (a seed) falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

What did he mean? Didn’t he want them to see him, and him to see them? No doubt he did. But his aims were far wider than being seen by just a few Greeks. Every human eye, Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old, needs to see Jesus and one day “every eye will see him” (Rev 1:7). But how? This could only happen if he, as a seed, fell into the ground and died and then was multiplied and multiplied and multiplied; multiplied until he was reproduced in men and women, young and old, rich and poor, educated and simple, in every nation under heaven. Only then would every eye be able to see him.

Every eye will see Jesus when he “comes with the clouds” (Rev 1:7). What will those clouds be? Not the normal clouds of water that we see every day. They will be human clouds; humans who have been raised up to sit with him in the heavenly places that he has prepared for them. They will be the fruit of that seed that fell into the ground and died and reproduced and multiplied.

The Manifestation of the Sons of God

Can these things possibly happen? Can you and I ever become like Jesus? Can we also manifest the attributes and character of God? It hardly seems possible. It seems far beyond our reach. Yet Jesus and the three most prominent New Testament writers, Peter, Paul and John, all predict that this is what will happen.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). What greater works could anyone do than raising a man who had been dead four days? I’ve explained that in Signs and Wonders. Jesus never expected his followers to be anything less than himself. He said, “I am the light of the world” (Matt 5:14). He also said, “you are the light of the world” (John 8:12).

John looked forward to a future time when this would take place: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that, when it does appear (or when he appears), we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1John 3:2). He clearly predicted a future time when we would be like Jesus.

Peter also looked forward to a great future hope: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time(1Pet 1:3-5). This last time, to which Peter looked forward, could well be the time we are now approaching.

Paul wrote, “The creation is waiting with eager longing for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19). Paul also looked forward to a future time which he called “the manifestation of the sons of God”.

When a seed is planted in the ground it is hidden from view. For some time nothing appears above the surface. When at last a green shoot appears, it looks no different from any other plant. A long time passes, maybe months, maybe years before the seed finally bears fruit. So it will be with the manifestations of the sons of God.

Jesus himself lived quietly at Nazareth for the first thirty years of his life. He appeared briefly in the temple at Jerusalem when he was 12 years old and demonstrated wisdom far beyond his years; but we read of no public ministry, no teaching, no demonstrations of God’s power, nothing that was different from the ordinary people with whom he mixed. No one recognised him for who and what he was.

Then followed three years of his manifestation as the Son of God.

So it will be with the sons of God. Only after long years of preparation will they reach the point at which they manifest the wisdom, the power and the love of God’s firstborn son. But the time must come for God’s full purpose to be achieved. He must have a complete family, all of whom reproduce the character and attributes of their older brother.

(Note: Greek uses the word υἱοι (huioi) for sons, and this word does not include daughters. Does that mean all the manifested sons of God will be physically male? We could equally ask, “Will the bride of Christ be composed only of females? Or will the prostitute Babylon be composed only of females?” The answer to all these questions is, “No”. Male in Scripture represents leadership, authority and power. People can be physically female, but spiritually male, or physically male, but spiritually female. The sons of God will include those who are physically female, if they are spiritually male.)

Conclusion

We have considered four great manifestations of the Word of God:

All of these are manifestations of the incredible wisdom and imagination and power of the word of God.

The first three of these are history. They have been fully accomplished. The fourth is a work in progress. It has begun, but it is not yet complete.

The manifestation of the sons of God will be very different from the church of church history. Most of the traditional church has failed to manifest the attributes of God. Instead of manifesting the power of God it has manifested the weakness of man. Instead of manifesting the wisdom of God it has manifested the foolishness of man. Often instead of manifesting the love of God, it has manifested human strife and hatred.

All that is now changing. God is bringing to birth a new people who will manifest his wisdom, his power and his love.

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