The Index entry for “God, Manifestations of” teaches us:
- Meaning of the word “Manifest”
- How God manifests himself to us
- Why He manifests himself
- Who He manifests himself to
- When He will
- Where He will, and
- What will be manifested
I Meaning of the Word “Manifest
synonyms EVIDENT, MANIFEST, PATENT, DISTINCT, OBVIOUS, APPARENT, PLAIN, CLEAR mean readily perceived or apprehended. EVIDENT implies presence of visible signs that lead one to a definite conclusion <an evident fondness for sweets>. MANIFEST implies an external display so evident that little or no inference is required <manifest hostility>. PATENT applies to a cause, effect, or significant feature that is clear and unmistakable once attention has been directed to it <patent defects>. DISTINCT implies such sharpness of outline or definition that no unusual effort to see or hear or comprehend is required <a distinct refusal>. OBVIOUS implies such ease in discovering that it often suggests conspicuousness or little need for perspicacity in the observer <the obvious solution>. APPARENT is very close to EVIDENT except that it may imply more conscious exercise of inference <for no apparent reason>. PLAIN suggests lack of intricacy, complexity, or elaboration <her feelings about him are plain>. CLEAR implies an absence of anything that confuses the mind or obscures the pattern <a clear explanation>.
It is interesting how many different ways the Lord makes himself manifest to us just by reading the index and topical guide entries. Notice the emphasized words in the following entries:
- Gen. 5:24 Enoch walked with God
- Gen. 32:30 I have seen God face to face
- Ex. 16:10 glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud
- Ex. 19:9 I come unto thee in a thick cloud
- Ex. 24:10 they saw the God of Israel
- Num. 12:5 Lord … stood in the door of the tabernacle
- Dan. 2:28 God in heaven that revealeth secrets
- Matt. 3:17 (Mark 9:7) voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved
- Mark 12:26 in the bush God spake unto him
- John 1:14 Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us
- John 6:46 he which is of God, he hath seen the Father
- John 14:21 will manifest myself to him
- Acts 7:56 the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
- 1 Tim. 3:16 God was manifest in the flesh
- Rev. 19:12 his eyes were as a flame of fire
Note: The remainder of this references the Index Entries, not the Topical Guide
- 1 Ne. 1:8 (1 Ne. 5:4; Alma 36:22) Lehi (1) is carried away in vision and sees God on throne.
- 1 Ne. 10:11 Messiah to rise from dead and manifests himself to Gentiles.
- 2 Ne. 2:4 (2 Ne. 11:3) Jacob(2) has beheld Redeemer’s glory in his youth.
- 2 Ne. 9:4 in our bodies we shall see God.
- 2 Ne. 11:2 Isaiah(1) saw Redeemer, as did Nephi(2).
- 2 Ne. 26:13 Christ manifests himself to all who believe in him.
- Alma 19:6 light of glory of God lights up Lamoni’s mind and he is carried away in God.
- Alma 19:13 Lamoni has seen his Redeemer.
- 3 Ne. 11:8 Nephites see Man descending from heaven.
- 3 Ne. 28:37 Mormon (2) inquires of the Lord and he makes truth manifest.
- Ether 3:13-16 Christ shows himself to brother of Jared (2).
- D&C 29:11 (D&C 34:7) the Lord to reveal himself from heaven.
- D&C 35:21 (D&C 50:45) the elect will hear the Lord’s voice and see him.
- D&C 84:5 cloud resting upon house of the Lord shall be his glory.
- D&C 93:15 voice out of heaven says, This is my beloved Son.
- D&C 130:3 appearing of Father and Son in John 14:23 is personal appearance.
- D&C 133:20 Christ shall stand upon mount of Olivet.
- D&C 133:25 the Lord shall stand in midst of his people.
- Moses 1:2 Moses talks with God face to face.
- Moses 1:11 Moses’ spiritual eyes have beheld God.
- Moses 6:39 Enoch (2) walks with God.
- Moses 7:4 the Lord stands before Enoch(2) and talks with him face to face.
- Abr. 3:11 Abraham talks with the Lord face to face.
- JS-H 1:17-20 Father and Son appear to Joseph Smith.
We can see God, or God can be manifested, in many, many ways. As Alma witnessed:
4 … The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
We can see God in more ways than one, if we are looking
III Why He manifests himself
Why would God manifest himself to his people? What is the purpose of this life? Isn’t it to return to God?
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have had occasion to work with someone for years that lived across the country, never met him face to face. We interacted on a daily basis, but did not know what the other looked like. When I finally did get to meet them, I found that they we quite different than I had expected. How can we know someone we have not met?
I think that that is why we are commanded to “seek this Jesus”
38 And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment–seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.
39 And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things;
40 And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.
41 And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.
Also, D&C 84:19 – 23 teach that we must receive the ordinances of the temple to see the face of God. By seeking his face, we will naturally be led to that place God would have us led to: the temple.
IV Who He manifests himself to
So to whom will God manifest himself?
8 And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
3 Ne. 12:8 (Matt. 5:8)
It is clear from the following scripture, that it is not easy to be worthy to see God.
114 But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;
115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;
116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;
117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.
It is clear that we must be pure to return to God’s presence, either now or in eternity.
- D&C 58:3 ye cannot behold with natural eyes, for present time, the design of God.
- D&C 67:12 natural man cannot abide God’s presence.
- D&C 93:1 those who forsake sins and obey commandments shall see the Lord’s face.
- Moses 1:5 no man can behold all God’s glory and remain in flesh.
V When He will
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.
VI Where He will
The Lord has been pretty clear about where he will manifest himself to his people.
15 And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
16 Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
President Hinckley, at the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple, made it clear that the Lord will only reveal himself in His house.
- D&C 109:5 Son to have place to manifest himself.
- D&C 110:2-10 Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery see the Lord at dedication of Kirtland Temple.
- D&C 110:7 the Lord will manifest himself to his people.
VII What will be manifested
What are we likely to see if we are permitted to see God?
19 And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about.
20 And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;
21 And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.
22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.
We should strive to see the face of the Savior. It may be manifest in different ways, but the experience will always bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
“Oh My Father” Hymns No. 292
God, Privilege of Seeing [Forward Reference]