November 18, 2017

Revelation

Revelation

Posted in Theologically Speaking

If God had not revealed Himself to us, we could not possibly have had any knowledge of Him. Left to ourselves, we would never have discovered God, for such a discovery is beyond our natural abilities. God has taken the initiative and  in His mercy and grace has revealed Himself to us for His glory and our benefit.

General Revelation comes to us in the forces and laws of nature, in the constitution and operation of the human mind, and in the facts of experience and history. The Bible refers to it in such passages as Ps 19:l; Rom 1:19-20, 2:14-15.  Roman Catholics and Protestants agree that what is revealed of God through His beautiful creation is not sufficient, being obscured by the blight of sin as a result of the Fall of Adam and Eve. This general revelation of God as seen in His creation does not now convey any fully reliable knowledge of God and spiritual things, and therefore does not furnish us with a trustworthy foundation on which we can build our home educational tasks or, more importantly, our eternal futures. And it utterly fails to meet the spiritual needs of us sinners, which are found only in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Special Revelation is God’s direct revealing of Himself to us, as is now embodied in the Holy Scriptures. It is needed because our sin has rendered us spiritually blind and mentally and intellectually perverse so that we fail to read aright even the remaining traces of the original revelation.

In giving His special or supernatural revelation God used different means. He revealed His presence in fire and clouds of smoke, in stormy winds, in an audible voice, through His prophets by an internal operation of the Holy Spirit, in dreams and visions, by means of Urim and Thummim, in miracles and most fully and intimately in His Son Jesus Christ.

The term “special revelation” may be used to denote the Bible as a whole as it has the divine guarantee of its truth in the fact that it is infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit. It may therefore be said that the whole Bible, and the Bible alone, is the special revelation of God Almighty, the infallible rule of faith and practice for all mankind, not just those who believe, although there is not full agreement among Christians today on these issues.

Under the influence of Rationalism it has become quite common to deny the inspiration of the Bible altogether, or to hold that only parts of it are inspired. Some deny the inspiration of the Old Testament, while admitting that of the New. Others affirm that the moral and religious teachings of Scripture are inspired, but that its historical parts contain several chronological, archaeological, and scientific mistakes. Still others will assume that the thoughts were inspired, while the choice of the words was left entirely to the wisdom of the human authors.

The inspiration of the Bible extends to the very words employed. The doctrine of verbal inspiration is fully warranted by Scripture. In many cases we are explicitly told that the Lord told Moses and Joshua exactly what to write, Lev 3 & 4; 6:1, 24; 7:22, 28; Josh 1:l; 4:1; 6:2, and so on. The prophets speak of Jehovah as putting His words into their mouths, Jer 1:9, and as directing them to speak His words to the people,      Ezek 3:4, 10, 11. Paul designates his words as Spirit-taught words, I Cor 2: 13; and both he and Jesus base an argument on a single word, Matt22:43-45; John 10:35; Gal 3:16.

Today we see three common views of the sufficiency of Scripture or the degree to which the Bible may be said to be the perfect and complete revelation of God for all people in all places for all time. One is the idea that the Bible owes much of its authority to the Church or to learned people within the Church who can interpret the revelation of God in the Bible correctly to the common people. Another idea is that believers may have an “inner light”, or a direct revelation from God via the Holy Spirit in their hearts in addition to and/or separate from the Bible. The third view is that the Bible is in itself the authoritative, complete and final revelation of God (until Christ returns); and that it is clear enough to the mind regenerated by the Holy Spirit that he does not need to depend on the interpretation of the church or some “inner light”.

As Christian Home Schoolers we need to think through and understand some of the implications of each of these views regarding the sufficiency of Scripture, for the one in which our children are raised will be the one they live by for most if not all of their lives.

In the first view, they could simply go along with whatever they are told by the church or the person at the top of the church organisation. In the second, people can become careless with ascribing to God things He did not say, but more in line with what they personally were hoping for; like the lady I know who recently said to her third – time – pregnant daughter that God had told her that this one would be a boy. It was another girl, the third. According to Deuteronomy 18:20-22, this lady is by definition a false prophet, and liable to the death penalty. In the third view, people can claim various passages and remain true to them, while ignoring others, treating the Scriptures like a smorgasbord. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceed s from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). And II Timothy 3: 16-17 makes such an unqualified statement of the total sufficiency of Scripture, there seems to be no need to look elsewhere:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work .

Let us become clear in our own minds as to what constitutes revelation today, and be careful to accurately inculcate this, our most accurate understanding, to our children.

 

From Keystone Magazine
January 1997 , Vol. III No.1
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig
@hef.org.nz

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