The Move of God in Man, by Witness Lee


First Timothy 3:16 says that God was manifested in the flesh. God being manifested in the flesh is God living a human life. We should not try to be angels, because God is not manifested in the angels but in the flesh. This means that God is living a human life.

A. Taking the Form of a Slave,
Becoming in the Likeness of Men,
and Found in Fashion as a Man

In Philippians 2:7-8 Paul said that the Lord Jesus took the form of a slave, became in the likeness of men, and was found in fashion as a man. Paul uses three particular words here: form, likeness, and fashion. We may think that these are synonyms, but each bears a particular significance. The form is the outward appearance, implying the reality within. We may use a horse as an illustration. The horse of course, is in the form of the horse, having the outward appearance of a horse, but this form implies the reality of a horse. A false horse would have only the form of a horse but no inward reality. The form is the outward appearance, implying the inward reality. Christ existed in the form of God. The form of God is Christ’s outward appearance, implying the inward reality of Christ’s deity. In His human living, Christ, who was in the form of God, took the form of a slave. He did not have just the appearance of a slave. He was really a slave, serving people as a slave.

Christ also had the human likeness. He became in the likeness of men (plural). Men means mankind. The likeness of men denotes the outward appearance of His humanity.

Christ was also found in fashion as a man. The fashion is the outward guise, the semblance. The likeness and the fashion are nearly the same, but likeness is general. The Lord Jesus became in the likeness of mankind in a general sense, but He was found in fashion as a man. The man Jesus had the likeness of men, and all the people were observing Him, inspecting Him, and watching over Him. As they observed Him, they talked about Him and wondered who He was. In their observance of Him, they found Him in the fashion of a man. What Christ looked like in His humanity was found by men to be in fashion as a man. Thus, fashion is a more particular term than likeness. In Philippians Paul stressed that in form, in likeness, and in fashion Christ was a real man.

B. To Express the Eternal, Infinite, Invisible, Glorious, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent God through the Mortal, Finite, Visible, Inglorious Man, Limited in Power, Knowledge, and Presence

The Lord Jesus was a real, perfect man to express the complete God. He was God manifested in the flesh to express the eternal, infinite, invisible, glorious, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God through the mortal, finite, visible, inglorious man, limited in power, knowledge, and presence. Mortal is versus eternal, finite is versus infinite, visible is versus invisible, and inglorious is versus glorious. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere, but man is limited in power, knowledge, and presence.

God can be in heaven and on earth at the same time. But when He became a man in time, He could be in only one place. When He was in Nazareth, He could not be in Jerusalem, because He became a limited man. In John 7 His brothers told Him to go into Judea and manifest Himself to the world (vv. 3-4), but the Lord said, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready" (v. 6). He was telling them that His time was limited. Although He was the Almighty God, as a man under persecution the Lord was limited in relation to His activity. Although He was the eternal, infinite, unlimited God, He lived here on earth as a man, being limited even in the matter of time.

(The Move of God in Man, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)