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What do we understand from the word 'visible' or the meaning of this action?

The context is:

Acts 10:40-41 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. NASB

There's a wide variety of interpretations like; caused him to appear, permitted Him to be seen, gave him to be revealed, be made manifest.

The Emmaus road incident shows another facet that draws our attention to Jesus' audience... rather than Jesus.

Then their 'eyes were opened' and they recognized him. So it wasn't J that was necessarily different - they thought he was another traveller. Mary thought he was the gardener - just another bloke. (Luke 24)

God had 'closed their eyes' to him, until it was the right time for them to 'see' and understand.

Perhaps also address the, 'not to all the people' aspect.

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It means that Jesus' appearance after his resurrection and before ascension was unique, one of its kind.

This Greek word appears only 2 times in the NT.

New American Standard 1977 Acts 10:40

“God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible [ἐμφανής]

Darby Bible Translation Romans 10:20

But Esaias is very bold, and says, I have been found by those not seeking me; I have become manifest [ἐμφανής] to those not inquiring after me.

Arguably, both verses could refer to the same phenomenon. Romans 10:20 refers to Isaiah 65:1 Brenton Septuagint Translation

I became manifest [ἐμφανής] to them that asked not for me; I was found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold, I am here, to a nation, who called not on my name.

This means that without this special effect, Jesus' resurrected body would not be visible in the physical realm.

We can see how different Jesus appeared when Paul met him.

Acts 9:3 As he [Paul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

Jesus' ἐμφανής appearance is unique. He died, resurrected, became visible, yet invisible at times for 40 days.

Acts 1:3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

There is nothing like it in the Bible.

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The Greek word ἐμφανής (emphanes) only occurs in two places in the NT;

  • Acts 10:40 - This One God raised up on the third day, and gave Him to become manifest, [BLB]
  • Rom 10:20 - And Isaiah is very bold and says: "I was found by those not seeking Me; I became manifest to those not inquiring after Me." [BLB]

Thayer provides the following meaning:

ἐμφανής (see ἐν, III. 3), ἐμφανές (ἐμφαίνω to show in, exhibit), manifest: γίνομαι τίνι, in its literal sense, Acts 10:40; figuratively, of God giving proofs of his saving grace and thus manifesting himself, Romans 10:20 from Isaiah 65:1. (From Aeschylus down.)

The translation "became visible" (as per NASB) is semantically possible but misleading here (in my view) because it gives the impression that Jesus was walking around invisible and became visible at times to certain people. Most versions avoid this idea and thus render the word as follows:

  • NIV: and caused him to be seen.
  • NKJV: and showed Him openly,
  • ISV: and allowed him to appear
  • NHEB: and gave him to be revealed
  • KJ2000B: and showed him openly
  • ASV: and gave him to be made manifest
  • YLT: and gave him to become manifest,

... and so forth. Thus the force of the text is that Jesus revealed Himself openly to a number of people. This is confirmed by the post-resurrection appearances that are recorded for us such as:

  • The women at the tomb on Sunday morning
  • The upper room with the disciples on Sunday evening
  • The upper room one week later

... and many more. These are summarised by Paul in 1 Cor 15:3-8 -

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one of untimely birth.

That is, Jesus appeared to various people at various times for 40 days (Acts 1:3) after His resurrection. That is, the entire population of the earth was NOT gathered at one place for Jesus to show Himself. Jesus appeared to various selected people in different places as Acts 10:40, 41 declares. Such people became witnesses of Jesus resurrection.

In Jesus' resurrection body, He had enough "flesh and blood" to be able to eat some fish and honeycomb. Luke 24:42.

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  • ty, edited to push a little further – user48152 Aug 18 '20 at 22:30
  • maybe just me, it seems God is orchestrating the process - I'm keen to develop that aspect - which is part of the 'visibility' mentioned - God caused, allowed, etc. This has a dimension of more than simply, who was there and who wasn't. – user48152 Aug 18 '20 at 22:53
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    @user48152 - of course God was orchestrating the process - He chose who He revealed Himself to. God is sovereign. There is nothing novel here. – Dottard Aug 18 '20 at 22:57
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What is intended by, “God raised him and …granted that He become visible”? Acts 10:40

What do we understand from the word 'visible'?

The context is:

Acts 10:40-41 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. NASB

"Granted that He become visible" or "allowed Him to become visible."

God resurrected him "in the spirit" and allowed him to become visible to some of his disciples.

1 Peter 3:18 (NASB)

18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Jesus showed up to his disciples in quite different appearances from his original, that even his closest associates did not immediately recognize him. Mary Magdalene for example took him for a gardener and his disciples on the road to Emmaus took him for a stranger. John 20:1, 14-15 and Luke 24:13-18

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  • there is something else happening here. The Emmaus road incident... Then their 'eyes were opened' and they recognized him. So it wasn't J that was necessarily different - they thought he was another traveller. God had 'closed' their eyes to him – user48152 Aug 21 '20 at 4:19

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