The Doctrine of Scripture #1
[ The Revelation of Scripture ]
Dr. Russell K. Tardo
I. THE REVELATION OF SCRIPTURE
Revelation is the first of three important parts to the Doctrine of the Scriptures. It is the unveiling of the truth; the giving of spiritual truth to the Christian. Both Christianity and Judaism are religions of revelation; religions in which God has revealed Himself. All other religions are religions of discovery (human attempts to discover God).
Thou has heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shown thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. [Isa. 48:6]
God revealed Himself to Israel. Man usually acquires knowledge by searching for it. The Word had to be revealed to Samuel.
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.
[1 Sam. 3:7]
Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? [Job 11:7]
God revealed His plan and purpose to Abraham:
1Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. [Gen. 12:1-3]
God revealed Himself to Moses:
And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said Here am I. [Ex. 3:4]
God will reveal Himself to the heart that searches, that longs for Him. Of himself, no man can find God. God must reveal Himself.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. [Eccl. 3:11]
Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it. [Eccl. 8:17]
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Only Israel had the revelation of God in ancient times.
He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. [Ps. 147:19]
Only Christians have the full revelation of God today.
For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. [Col. 2:9]
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? [Acts 2:12]
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [John 1:1]
B. Transmission and Interpretation:
Revelation itself would be meaningless without an anointed messenger, prophet, to receive (transmit) and interpret the revelation. Otherwise, no one would understand its meaning. For example, when the children of Israel left Egypt with all of the gold and riches of their taskmasters with them. Had there not been a prophet to interpret and record the incident, the world would have thought of it as just a mass migration of people from one country to another. The revelation of God was entrusted to the Jews, and that’s why God has dealt so severely with Israel. For to he whom much is given, much will be required.
1What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. [Rom. 3:1-2]
C. Recorded Revelation:
When revelation is recorded, it is called inspiration. God inspires the writer to record what has been revealed. The result is the Bible. The revelation had to be preserved. Had it not, only the one generation alive while the incidents actually occurred would have benefitted by it.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. [Isa. 40:7]
The word of the Lord abideth forever. The Jews had the privilege of recording and preserving the revelation.
9When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tales of the covenant which the Lord made with you, .... 17And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes. [Deut. 9:9, 17]
1At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. 2And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. 3And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. 4And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. [Deut. 10:1-4]
God preserves His revelation, even if the original is destroyed.
1And it came to pass in the fourth year of Johoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. 3It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. 4Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.... 20And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king. 21So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. 22Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. 23And it came to pass, that when Jedhudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. 25Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them. 26But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the Lord hid them. 27Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah saying, 28Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. 29And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, the king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? 30Therefore thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. 31And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not. 32Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, and son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words. [Jer. 36:1-4, 20-32]
D. Two Basic Types of Revelation:
1. General or Natural Revelation:
General or natural revelation reveals the reality of God. Natural revelation does have limitations, however. It can only reveal the fact there is a God. It doesn’t tell us of a Triune God, nor can it point mankind to the cross.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. [Ps. 19:1]
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [Rom. 1:20-21]
The purposes of general or natural revelation are:
a. To reveal God’s glory;
b. To prepare the believer to receive supernatural or special revelation; and,
c. Man is left without an excuse.
2. Special or Supernatural Revelation:
Special revelation is a supernatural revealing of God in a definite way to the believer. It can come in many, many ways -- through dreams, visions, or audible voice.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
17It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. 18And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. [Ex. 31:17-18]
And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. [Num. 12:6]
And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. [Ex. 3:4]
And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.... [Ex. 33:11]
Special revelation is by nature, redemptive revelation. It picks up where natural revelation leaves off. Nature tells us that God exists. Natural revelation does not go far enough, however, to tell us who God is. Special revelation makes us aware that we are in need of salvation and points us to Jesus Christ. The message is redemption. Redemption is the center of God’s purpose in special revelation.
The record of revelation is found in the Scriptures -- the Bible.