Why do we search for God? Why are we drawn to Him? Why do we pursue Him? Why do we want to experience the Divine? Why do we want God to reveal Himself? King David said “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God.” (Ps. 42:1-2). This is the cry of the human heart, man wants to know God and God answers his cry. God reveals himself to man in an intelligent way.
Wrong Revelation, New Revelation and Communication
The designer gets in touch with the design. “Human DNA has more organized information than the Encyclopedia Britannica. If the full text were to arrive in a computer code from outer space, most people would regard this as a proof of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. But when see it in nature, it is explained as the workings of random forces” (George Sim Johnston). The chemical structure of DNA where the instructions for building proteins are is like a vast library filled with information but only the right information goes into the DNA. Inside every cell in our bodies (all one trillion cells) the tightly coiled DNA provides the genetic information necessary to create all the proteins out of which our bodies are built. There are 20,500 different proteins in each cell. Those who believe in evolution would have us believe that this all happened by random chance instead of intelligent design. This is an insult to reason, intelligence and logic. The design and a Designer is self evident. However something has gone wrong with man’s thinking. It does violence to the logic of the delicate design. We have been fed false information into our minds that order arose spontaneously out of randomness. Man has refused to accept God’s revelation and it brings the inevitable consequence. The damaged logic (mind) means man cannot think straight. “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” (Rom. 1:21-22). If we see the great design then we should recognize the great designer behind it. The mind is not working proper, the revelation it receives is not form God it actually takes him away from Him. Darwin taught that all forms are “related through descent from some unknown prototype that lived in the remote past.” He wants us to believe that this undirected, unintelligent, purposeless, through uncaring random chance that a piece of slime started of the existence of all living creatures. To believe that chance made the species is both unreasonable and an insult to right thinking people. Many hundreds of biologists, chemists, zoologists, molecular and cell biologists, anthropologists, bioengineers, geologists, astrophysicists and other scientists are skeptical and reject Darwin’s theory. They believe there is strong evidence for design, which calls for a designer.
False prophets and writings. They give us false information about God. There are those who call themselves prophets today and believe God has revealed more revelation to them such as Joseph Smith (The Later Day Saints). Joseph Smith said “Moroni (a man who died came back as a resurrected being) claimed “I have seen Jesus, and…he hath talked with me face to face,…even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things” (Ether 12:39). Paul said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8). The Jehovah Witnesses give further revelation through the Watch Tower magazine. Some traditions of the Church are accepted as infallible revelation. Appearances and messages from saints or Mary are extra biblical revelation. Certain Charismatic or Pentecostals say, “The Lord told me” or “The Lord spoke to me, I heard his voice” or “He gave me a word of knowledge in a dream.” Such extra-biblical revelation can lead to confusion and false doctrine. The Lord may use a dream to bring someone to himself who may not have the scripture but it is not a common thing and usually it is to save them not give them extra biblical revelation. The Bible says the “… faith was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and “No man should add to or take away from the Word of God (Rev.22: 18-19)
1. God Reveals Himself in His Word – Revelation
a) Throughout history God has made Himself known to man. God took the initiative to reveal himself to mankind (Heb. 1:1). God stripped the veil away (apokalypsis) means to take a covering or veil from off of something (Mt. 11:27; Rev. 1:1) God revealed himself to man. He did this through a variety of means.
Sometimes it was through created order (Ps. 19). · Angels. · Visions and dreams (Dan.2, 7-11). · Prophets (Moses, Joshua (Num. 1:1; Jos.1:1. · Signs, wonders and miracles. · Writing. God personally wrote it down (Duet. 5:22; 4:13). And had the prophets write it down. He said to Isaiah to “Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever” (Isa. 30:8). He told Jeremiah “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: “Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you” (Jer. 30:2). John wrote, “This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true” (Jn. 21:24). Writing it down was important. God inscribed on stone the Decalogue and prompted Moses to write down His laws both to leaders and to ordinary people (Jos. 1:7-8; 2 Kings 17:13; 22:8-13; Neh.8; Ps.119). · Scripture is the most complete and understandable revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).
Regardless of the method, the act of revelation was always a supernatural work of God in which He communicated is divine truth the human beings.
The Reason He Reveals Himself.
God reveals himself to us in his word in order that we do not fall into error or confusion. He does not want us to be abused spiritually, mentally, emotionally or physically. He reveals that he is tender as a mother, faithful as a father, he reveals his love for us in the giving of his Son to die for us, he wants to be our friend. He reveals a cameo picture of himself to Moses. “And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth…” (Ex. 34:6).
The Bible is the unique Word of God. The revealed written word of God is unique in that it is the only revelation of God that is complete and that so clearly declares the sinfulness of man and God’s provision of the Saviour. God communicates to man His divine truth, his manifestation of himself or his will. He communicates what man did not know and could not discover for himself. God used both natural (creation and conscience Romans 1-2), and supernatural means to reveal himself (Heb. Words 1:1).
b) It is a mystery (musterion- a thing once hidden and now revealed) revealed (1 Cor. 15:5; Eph. 1:9, 3:4 and 9, 5:32, 6:19; Col. 1:26, 27, 2:2). The mystery of the Church Jews and Gentiles becoming one (the Church) through the work of Christ was hidden in the Old Testament but revealed in the New Testament.
c) Revelation is Rational.
It is logical that a Creator wants to reveal himself to His created. This is why the Lord spoke so many times in Scripture (Thus said the Lord). It is natural for a parent to be in touch with their child. God persistently kept in touch through the writers of the Bible and continues to do so through His Word today. The Bible is heavens love letter to us.
d) Why do we need Revelation?
God is infinite we are finite and therefore cannot understand or know God unless He reveals himself to us. Man cannot see God. (Is. 45:15; I1 Tim. 6:15-16.) Man cannot know God (Is. 55:9; 1 Cor. 2:14). Spiritual things are foolishness to him (1 Cor.2:14). He is spiritually dead (Eph.2:1-5). Only God can give us disclosure of who He is. The Fall of Mankind in the Garden caused man to die spiritually and he could not have fellowship with God as he formerly had (Gen.2:17).
Man is a sinner, his own nature and conscience do not reveal and so God needs to reveal Himself. Man is both blinded ay sin and lost in sin. He needed to have revealed to him the grace of God. He is guilty of rebelling against God and under the curse, and sins power. He needed to be told the way in which God had saved him. Nature said nothing about this. Knowledge could only come through supernatural revelation. It transcends nature and is found in the Bible.
2. Revelation. Christianity is not based upon feelings, emotions or men’s ideas but upon the revelation of the truth of God. However it can be deeply moving Isaiah was shaken deeply when he had a revelation of god. (Isa. 6:1-6). Jeremiah said “…His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not” 20:9). When Jesus revealed the scriptures to the two on the road to Emmaus the revelation deeply moved them. Luke 24:27 and 31 “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself…. Vs 32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Revelation is based upon the fact that there is a God and that He reveals Himself and we can know Him. This is not merely intellectualism but facts that can move people to praise or tears. God is there and He is not silent, He communicates to us. We can relate to God because He has revealed who He is in His Word, which is of divine authourship and contents. He gives us information. God is infinite and man is finite, if man is to know God it must come about by God s revelation of Himself. Man could not discover the deep truths of God’s character, His thoughts, His plan, for Israel, the Church and the nations, the origins of the universe, of creation etc. God had to communicate to man how he could get to know Him. He not only informs us about Himself but about man, and the universe we live in. He doesn’t leave us to grope around in the dark. He tells us our origin and where we came from, whom we are and where we are going. It is a wonderful to know the supreme God of the universe and all creation wants to have a relationship with us. It overwhelms the mind and affects us rationally, emotionally and in our faith the whole man is moved by this. Reading, believing, and being obedient to this material was always central to true devotion in Israel.
3. There are two basic classes of revelation.
a) General Revelation. God ‘s communication of Himself to all mankind at all times and all places. He has done so through the Cosmos, through nature. The wonders of the world ought to make man worship God and stand in awe of His glory, but their foolish heart is darkened. He has revealed Himself by the voice of conscience which speaks to man showing him right from wrong, but the conscience is seared was with a hot iron. He spoke to individuals.
b) Special Revelation. God’s particular communications and manifestations to particular persons at particular times, which ware available now only by consulting His Word.
N.B. Revelation and Inspiration are complete but illumination helps us understand and apply the truth today. God revels His truth by illuminating believers by the spirit (1 Cor. 1:2-9).
4. General Revelation
1) Creation (nature). Scripture proposes that there is knowledge available through the physical created world. (Ps.19: 1-6 Rom. 1:20, Job 36:34-37:34; 38:1 39:30). General revelation comes to man as man (special revelation: man as sinner). All general revelation was established before the fall.
a) “The heavens are telling the glory of God” (Ps.19: 1). Men of all languages know this. “Are telling,” means to count or number, to recount or relate. This declaration is an ongoing process. Man would build his universe with a “Big Bang” that would bring disorder not order. They believe electrons, protons and neutrinos were bursting forth. But fail to acknowledge all of these have complex, mathematical preciseness and order. This is a scientific explanation not a philosophical one nor a theory. They came into being by the word of God instantaneously and orderly. The personal Creator reveals Himself.
Vs. 3 “There is no language and there are no words, in which this message is unheard, that is, inaudible.” There are no missing words. God has revealed enough for all mankind to know.
b) The universal revelation of nature is “clearly seen” Rom.1: 20 and “understood” vs. 21. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely his eternal power and deity has been perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom. 1:20). The whole context vs. 18-32 deals with general revelation and man trying to excuse himself for the responsibility of receiving it and the downward moral spiral of his degeneracy. The majesty of God in creation leaves man without an excuse. The invisible creation shows a visible Creator. Man has gained it through God’s invisible qualities (His eternal power and divine nature). The atom, the invisible insect life, the beauty in nature, the complex biological make up of living things. It explains what God is like, his nature but in order to get to know God we have that revelation through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Belief in a Creator is not enough to save us. We need the sin problem dealt with, we need to be holy as he is, and we need to have eternal life as he has. God is worthy to be worshipped because of who he is. On the Judgment Day no one can say “God did not revel himself to me”. General revelation condemns those who do not believe. The Jew who has the written law and the Gentile who has the law written upon his heart are both without excuse (Romans 2).
c) Paul points the people of Lystra to the living God who made the heaven and the earth. Even though the nations walked away from Him He still provided for them an dpreser4ved them. (Acts 14:15-17).
d) Paul and the Philosophers. These people had an awareness of the general revelation of god and Paul goes on to give them specific revelation by preaching Christ and his resurrection (Acts 17:22-31). He says the pagan poet came to a spiritual truth without God’s special revelation.
e) History. History gives evidence of the Majesty of God. He rules throughout the earth at all times. His promises and preservation of Israel. This small nation has survived for centuries but great civilizations have become extinct. The fulfillment of prophecy concerning the nations such as Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome etc. His hand guides history.
f) Man. Gods general revelation is seen in the physical and mental structure of man.
g) Conscience or the Moral Law. Man makes moral judgments. He is makes moral decisions, He knows within himself when he is doing wrong (Romans 2:14-15). All people possess knowledge and all men are guilty (Rom. 1:21, 32). Man was created in God’s image (Gen.1: 26-27) and is conscious of God but because of the fall the conscience has been marred (1 Tim. 4:2; defiled (Titus 1:15, it needs purged Hebrews 9:14).
h) Man’s religious nature. Humans make moral decisions. They know internally right from wrong. In all culture, at all times and all palaces human haves believed in the existence of something higher than themselves. After the Fall man began to manufacture his own way to God and his own gods and religions (Gen. 4)
5. Special Revelation
Special revelation is God manifesting himself to particular people at definite times and places by supernatural means (Hebrews 1:1). God is a personal God and a personal God present himself to persons.
a. Revelation Came Through Historical Events.
The event of calling Abraham out of Ur had great significance to the future of mankind. The Lord’s provision for Isaac as an heir. God’s providence in the life of Joseph, his being sold into slavery into Egypt, his promotion to Prime minister benefited all the descendents of Abraham. The deliverance from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea all had great historical significance. The conquest of the Promised Land, the captivity and the return from captivity all manifest the presence and working of God.
b. Men cannot compel God to speak or appear. He has done it sovereignly Himself.
c. Theophanes – physical or audible manifestations of God to men.
d. He appeared and spoke to Adam (Gen. 2:28) and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3.
e. The angel of the Lord (Gen. 16:10; Judges 2:1)
f. He met with Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:2-6.c.f. 33:11).
g. God wrote (Exodus 31:18; Daniel 5).
h. A still small voice to Elijah (1 Kings 19:12).
i. He spoke through dreams (Dan. 7:1).
j) Isaiah saw him in all his majesty and splendour (Isa.6).
k) He spoke through visions (Ez. 1:1).
l) The Father spoke form heaven (John 12).
m) He spoke though Jesus the incarnate Word His final revelation (John 1:17, Heb. 1:1).
n) At the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:17).
o) He spoke through miracles (his mighty acts. Ex. 5:1-2, cp. 7:4-5; Ps. 106:7-9.).
p) He spoke and still speaks though the written Word (Ex. 17:14, 24:4, 7; Deut. 31:24; 2 Tim. 3:16)
6. Why Special Revelation?
God wants man to know his specific will and plan for mankind, history and the ages.
a) God wants man to know Him (1 John 5:20).
b) God want man to know he can have assurance of eternal life now (1 John 5:13).
c) God spoke that we might “Glorify Him” (2 Cor. 1:20).