Summary: There are seven periods of time in biblical history where God revealed something relating to an understanding of the individual. Each revelation builds upon the previous revelations. The terminology in each revelation remains consistent and precise.
2. Stages of Biblical Revelation
“Jesus said, ‘Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven’ ” (Mat 16:17). Paul wrote, “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery … God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor 2:7-10).
God’s love for humanity has caused Him to reveal Himself to humanity. God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve until their transgression of His word. Then they were driven from the Garden of Eden to wander upon the earth until the time of their physical death. The earth was cursed by God and declared that it would not produce the way God had originally designed it to do so.
God’s love for humanity and for His creation did not end with the Garden of Eden incident. He began to reveal His plan of redemption that would span the ages. The Bible became His book of revelation of this work. The Bible reveals God’s pattern of design in creating humanity. That pattern is consistent throughout the Bible. This consistency of the created design has allowed biblical writers to address the issues of man being and the operation of that being.
The Bible reveals eight stages in God’s revelation. Each stage builds upon the previous stage, while stage one in the creation account remains foundational to the biblical revelation. The stages of biblical revelation must be defined in order to see or determine the end product or goal of what God is driving toward in relationship to humanity.
Stage 1. Creation: man is created in the image according to the likeness of God for the purpose of fellowship and dialogue with God, as man expresses itself in taking dominion over the earth. The transgression of Adam brought humanity into a state of death which prevented humanity from entering into the fellowship and dialogue with God, unless God chose to correct the situation. Humanity begins it journey through time in a darkened perception of life, a confused mind that is not able to focus on the realities of life; a wrong standard for evaluating life based solely upon its self; a heart driven by desire and ambition that has no control over the creative powers that work within its total person, and a will that chooses itself over God its Creator.
Secular man operating in secular philosophy and secular psychology reveals the hidden-ness of God in life, as the individual by his/her innate abilities cannot come to an understanding of the eternal and spiritual God.
Stage 2. Mt. Sinai: this is the place where God reveals Himself to give to humanity the teachings and physical models, whereby, man can develop an understanding of Him, of its self, and the relationship of the two. This revelation reveals that the human being is the sanctuary of God upon the earth.
Stage 3. Mt. Zion: this place of revelation addresses the role of human feelings and emotions, which are easily stirred by the sound of music. It is in the Psalms, which are Hebrew songs, where the inner feelings and emotions of the individual are brought to light as powerful influence that impact the individual life. This revelation worked through the song writer and musician, David the King.
The writer of Proverbs took the writings of Song of Songs (addresses the soul suffering because it cannot find the love that would bring a sense of fulfillment to their life); Job (addresses the soul suffering because it cannot not find health); and Ecclesiastes (addresses the soul suffering because its spirit cannot find rest in materialism, achievement, success) and compacted their themes into the Book of Proverbs to develop a message of how the individual grows and develops in its relationship to the Lord God or self-destructs because it rejects the Lord God.
Stage 4. Prophetic Movement: hearing the voice of God. It was not the high priest whom God spoke His message too, although that was the intent of the tabernacle ministry. It was the prophets who became the spokesmen for the Lord God.
Stage 5. Rebuilding the House of God: the rebuilding the house of God was the work of God through His Holy Spirit working in the hearts of people, Gentiles and Jews alike. The story begins at the end of Jeremiah’s ministry and carries on through Ezra/Nehemiah and Haggai/Zechariah.
Stage 6. Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ was the full revelation of God to humanity. All the fullness of God dwelt in Jesus (Col 1:19; 2:9). Jesus viewed Himself, or at least His physical body, as the temple of God (Joh 2:25).
Stage 7. The Early Church: all the revelation that God gave under the first/old covenant was directed to the moment of the church. The first century church struggled with the expanded interpretation of the covenant, law, tabernacle, and the priesthood.