The Synthesis Test – Analysis, Part 7
Question Forty-Nine: What is your view concerning revelations from God? (a) God no longer speaks to man. His whole revelation is in the scriptures. (b) God speaks to man through His authorized church representatives only. (c) God can and will reveal whatever He wants through whomever He wants, whenever He wants, and it may be to those who do not belong to any church.
These three answers cover the three basic beliefs concerning revelation from higher intelligence to man on the earth.
(a) This answer rates a -15 because it represents an extremely closed-minded view. Is it logical to assume that God spoke to people right and left thousands of years ago, but is powerless to do it today when we need him the most? Why do people think this way? Amazingly, they blame it on the scriptures themselves and quote the following from the last page of the Bible: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book.” Rev. 22:18-19.
This scripture is interpreted by many fundamentalist Christians to mean that this was the last page of holy writ that would ever be written in history and after this pronouncement man was on his own with no revelation from God, for God had given him everything that he was ever going to need in the Bible. If one wants to know what God has to say one must examine the thoughts of God toward mankind in situations that occurred from 2-6,000 years ago.
Not only is this belief not rational to an enlightened person, but it is not scriptural either. Let us examine the passage in the cold clear light of reason.
First we notice that “man” is not supposed to add to or take away from the book. They forget that if a new revelation comes, it is revealed not by man, but by God. Of course, God does not want man adding his thoughts to scripture and purporting them to be from God. God says nowhere that He, Himself, will not add revelation.
Secondly, John told us not to add to or take away from “the prophecy of this book.” What book is this? Is it the Bible? No–the Bible was not compiled until centuries later. Instead, John speaks of a book containing prophecies and plagues which is, naturally, the Book of Revelations, which was the book that he had his pen placed on when he wrote the above scripture. This little book of revelations has more prophesies and plagues mentioned than any other book in the Bible.
John wanted the vision he recorded to be preserved intact just as he wrote it and he knew of the habit of many scribes to add their own opinions and footnotes to scripture as they copied them over, so he warned them against doing this, knowing that a little note added could be interpreted by the next scribe as being from the original text.
Furthermore, if this scripture applied to the whole Bible, then John himself was under condemnation, for he wrote the Gospel of John after the Book of Revelations. If the books of the Bible were arranged in true chronological order, the last of the Gospel of John would compose the last page of the Bible, which would have ended the Bible on an entirely different note: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” John 21:25.
This would be a much more appropriate last verse in the Bible, for it tells us that many more scriptures like the Gospels could be written.
Many feeling people make the mistake of believing that the Bible is all the scripture that will ever be written. Many even believe the Bible contains all the truth available to mankind. Ask such a one to explain why 2+2=4 is not in there and you will not get a logical answer.
These fundamentalist Christians are not the first to make such a mistake. The Jews who rejected Christ did the same thing. They felt that the Old Testament contained all of the word of God and that Christ and his disciples were blasphemers for claiming to have more.
The Samaritans were even more closed-minded. They accepted only the first five books in the Bible and thought that they contained the total revelation of God. This was not without reason, for in the last accepted book of their scriptures was written: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it…” Deut. 4:2. Thus the Samaritans, Jews, and Christians are all caught up in the “last word” syndrome.
Fortunately, there is no last word from God.
Future revelation is predicted numerous times in the Bible, once in the Book of Revelations itself. In chapter eleven, we have the prophecy of two prophets who will arise at the end of the age and prophesy for three and one half years. Obviously, they will speak the word of God as much as any prophet in the Bible.
There are also numerous books obviously missing from the Bible. Some of those mentioned and quoted by Bible writers, but not included in the Bible itself are: The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:4); The Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14); The Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13, II Sam. 1:18); The Book of Statutes (I Sam. 10:25); The Book of the Acts of Solomon (I Kings 11:41); The Books of Nathan and Gad (I Chron 29:29); The Prophecy of Ahijah and Visions of Iddo (II Chron 9:29); The Acts of Uzziah (II Chron 26:22); The Sayings of the Seers (II Chron. 33:19).
The New Testament also mentions missing scripture. Concerning Jesus, Matthew wrote: “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” Matt. 2:23. This prophecy is found nowhere in holy writ, so obviously, it was from some lost book that Matthew had knowledge of. Acts has twenty-eight chapters in the Bible, but a twenty-ninth was discovered in the archives at Constantinople.
Paul gives several inferences to epistles he wrote that are not in the Bible. An obvious one is: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” Col. 4:15. Other inferences into missing epistles are found in I Cor. 5:9 and Eph. 3:3.
Obviously, there was a missing book of Enoch, for Jude wrote: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, The Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” Jude 14. Interestingly, there was a book of Enoch that was accepted as authorized scripture for the first two hundred years of the Christian church. With all of this evidence plus all of the logic and reason in the world, one cannot help but wonder how even an extremely emotional person can believe that the Bible contains all of the revelation or truth that there is.
The (b) answer is almost as illogical. This person does not want to take the responsibility of receiving truth or revelation for himself, so he leaves it up to his authorities to receive and interpret. He does not even want to think through the meaning of things, but wants someone else to do the thinking for him (though he would never admit this). He believes that if God has anything to say, or a new truth to presented that it will come through duly constituted authorities, prophets or Priests. He never expects God to work through some regular guy down the road or even some non-religious person,. Amazingly, throughout the scriptures, this is exactly the procedure that God has used. Study all of the apostles and prophets and you will see that they were almost all so average and unpious that the religious leaders as well as the people rejected them. They were not selected through “authorized” means. Usually, a prophet is only called by God when the current religious and civil authorities are corrupt.
(c) is the best answer. God will speak to the one who is willing to seek, listen, and do, not to the one with the most authority. As said of David of old: “God looketh upon the heart”.
The objection given to this line of reasoning is: “God is a God of order. It would be confusion for God to speak through just anyone. Therefore, He must use recognized authorities so the people will know the message is valid.”
This sounds like a reasonable point until it is realized that there are thousands of authorities all teaching different things to their followers and that most authorities are crystallized in their beliefs and cannot accept new doctrine as Jesus illustrated: “Neither do men put new wine (truths) into old bottles (established authorities): else the bottles break (The authorities cannot endure or accept the truth), and the wine runneth out (The truth is lost), and the bottles (men) perish: but they put new wine (truth) into new bottles (men who are not recognized authorities and generally not known to the public), and both are preserved.” Matt. 9:17.
This was the procedure followed in presenting truths through prophets throughout the Bible. Moses was not at first recognized. He was not even thought to be a Hebrew, but an Egyptian enemy. David was an upsurger whom Saul and his government constantly tried to kill.
Joseph was sold into Egypt by his own brothers and spent seven years in a dark prison from whence he was fetched to prove himself a true prophet.
Jeremiah was certainly no authority. He was rejected by both religious and political authorities. Even those in his home area thought he was crazy for prophesying their doom. God will not allow his own great city of Jerusalem to be destroyed, they said.
Ahab, King of Israel inquired of his four hundred and one prophets as to whether or not he should go to battle. Apparently, all were yes men except one, because four hundred of them gave him the answer he wanted which was yes. One, named Micaiah, received a true revelation and predicted disaster. The king was angry with this dissenter, but did not get to carry out his punishment, for the battle the next day was a disaster and Ahab was slain. (See II Chron, chapter 18)
Amos was no recognized authority and was himself surprised when he was called: “Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdsman, and a gatherer of Sycamore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.” Amos 7:14-15. Thus was an ordinary laborer sent to prophesy to the “recognized prophets”.
There is probably no better example of God working through a non-authority than that of the carpenter’s son, Jesus.
When he announced his mission as the Messiah to the kind folks of his home town in the middle of a church meeting they were so horror struck with his audacity that they bodily picked him up right then and there and the whole group took him to the edge of a cliff to dispose of this blasphemer. Miraculously, he was able to escape.
When he told other Jews that he was a son of God and lived before Abraham they picked up stones and tried to kill him right there.
Listen to what Jesus had to say to the religious leaders and authorities in his day: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead man’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocracy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and ye say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matt. 23:24-33.
Is it any wonder that established authorities did not like the Son of God? Who has the guts today to speak to them that way? Never before had the powers that be been shaken to the core with such penetrating words as those which came from the mouth of Jesus, presented even before their faces.
It is common knowledge that the Apostles also were common people. None of them were selected because of religious experience or even because they were particularly religious or pious.
It is true that God is a God of order, but it would produce only deception and confusion to work only through authoritative figures. To keep order and continued spiritual progress for mankind he must work through the “new bottles” or receptive channels only, for the word of God itself, or truth, is the greatest authority: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12
How can one reasonably argue against answer (c)? Put yourself in God’s shoes. Can you see yourself always working through orthodox procedures? Don’t you think that you would find yourself pulling unorthodox strings occasionally, as God has done?
May 31, 2004
Copyright by J J Dewey
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