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Nature and foundation of revelation

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A missionary does not need a thousand answers, rationalizations, or proof to start his work.

A missionary needs just to have a testimony of  the message which brings and an understanding how he gained it. After that he should try to put his listeners on his same path.

Many missionaries presume that they are obligated to PROVE the Gospel. We are not obligated to prove the Gospel, only to declare it. Each investigator must prove it for himself. We must not give the impression that we are obligated to answer all the objections that our critics can device. We must not even pretend that we can answer all their objections, because after one answer usually there is another question and so on. Every man sooner or later is backed up to the wall of faith. And there he must make his stand. Either he will believe if he is good, or doubt if he is evil (John 3:16-21) And, if he doubts, only he can do anything about that.

So it is extremely important to talk about the testimony that we receive by the personal revelation and explain that this revelation is surely subjective, that is,  there is no means by which the people can prove to the other people that they possess this revelation or personal testimony. The only thing that they can do is to bring  this testimony and the Holy Ghost can testify to the heart of the listener the truth of his words and consequently the other person has received a "personal testimony" too. 1 Chorintians  2:11-14

One of the most interesting stories in the Autobiography of Parley Pratt is his account of outwitting a protestant minister in a debate over modern revelation.

This minister maintained there had been no revelation since the time of the ancient apostles. Elder Pratt asked him how he happened to become minister. Whereupon the minister claimed to have heard a "vocal voice" calling him to the ministry, thus revealing the inconsistency of his position. On the other hand he claimed all revelation had ceased. On the other, he claimed he had received a revelation to become a preacher. Elder Pratt lost no time pointing this out to his audience.

Obviously the prayer will become obsolete, if we don't believe that we can have answers to our prayers

How could the Holy Ghost teach, expound, testify and so on if there was no revelation? Or even better there would be a reason for Him to exist ? He is the REVELATOR promised to the saints, a revelator without revelations, another great mistery after the trinity and so on.

In some cases people acknowlegdes answers to prayers, the operation of the Holy Ghost, and still refuses to accept revelation besides the Bible. In others he may accept miracles and all sort of gifts of the Spirit, but reject revelation. It is though they think you can make a horse a cow simply by calling it a cow.

It has been said tha Abraham Lincoln asked someone how many legs a dog would have if you called his  tail a leg. The reply was five. He said," No. He would have only four. Calling a dog's tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

The nature of inspiration, revelation and scripture.

Inspiration, revelation, and scripture are all the same in the sense that all three are communication from God. In other words, inspiration is communication from God. Revelation is communication from God. And scripture is communication from God. Hence all three are alike in this one sense: They all are communication from God.

This is not to say that all revelation or all scripture is inspiratio; although one might say that all revelation and all scripture are INSPIRED of God. (2 Timothy 3:16 2 Peter 1:20-21) Christians of all denominations agree that the Bible is inspired, meaning that the writers were moved upon, or inspired, by the Holy Ghost. We are told that the Holy Ghost does not speak of Himself (John 16:13). This means that the writers of the scriptures were inspired by God through the Holy Ghost. If we accept the Bible as the word of God, we accept the idea that, when men are inspired to write God's word, this inspiration is, indeed, communication from God. God communicates his word or His Will to the mind of an inspired man, who, in turn, writes it.

Revelation can take many forms. There are visions as John had on the isle of Patmos. There are dreams such as the one Nebuchadnezzar had which had to be interpreted by Daniel. The voice of God or an angel may be heard such the one which awakened the boy Samuel in the night 1 Samuel 3:4-14, or the one spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. Heavenly visitors may appear such as Gabriel who appeared to Zacharias in the temple Luke 1:19, or Moses and Elias who appeared on the mount of Transfiguration. The old Testament refers to a remarkable instrument, known as the Urim and Thummim, by which the ancient seers communicated with God. (Exodus 28:1-43; Leviticus 8:1-14. God reveals or communicates His will every time he heals the sick or performs any kind of miracle. All of these forms of revelation are forms of communication from God. Hence, it would be proper to say that all revelation is communication from God. This definition of revelation is in agreement with any standard theological dictionary definition.

The most common form of revelation is inspiration. As pointed out above, all scripture is inspired. John's record of his visions was inspired. The visions themselves came from God and were revelation; but, when John recorded them, he needed to be inspired of God in order to make a true and proper record of these visions. When peter, Paul, and the other authors of the New Testament books undertook to write their testimonies and instructions, they were inspired. Indeed, our acceptance of these books implies an admission that they were inspired. The purpose of the early councils which determined the canon of the scripture was to declare this book or that wholly inspired or not inspired. For centuries the books of the Bible have been universally accepted as inspired. This automatically means that every account or record in the Bible is inspired, making inspiration the most common form of revelation.

Besides that, the Bible is full of inspired accounts of inspiration. The patriarch, Jacob, by inspiration, crossed his hands and gave Ephraim the first blessing instead of Manasseh, who was the elder. (Genesis 48:13-14. By inspiration, the servant of Abraham found a suitable wife for Isaac. Genesis 24. By inspiration, David knew that the God of Israel would not fail him in his fight with Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:37. By inspiration Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ. Matthew 16:13-16. And Jesus called this inspiration a revelation. He said that our Father in Heaven REVEALED this testimony to Peter. Many times it was inspiration which led Paul and his fellow missionaries from one place to another. It was inspiration which settled the circumcision dispute for those who were obedient to the decision (acts 15). Peter said: "It seemed good to us and to the Holy Ghost to lay no greater burden on you.....

It appears that in none of the above cases, or in the hundreds like them, was a voice heard or a personage seen or a vision beheld. But the voice of the Spirit communicated the mind of God to a man or to men. Since it was the mind of God communicating to the mind of men, one is compelled to agree that inspiration is revelation if he agrees with the commonly accepted truth that revelation is communication with God.

It would be well at this point to sum up what we have presented so far in the paragraphs above. We have said or implied (1) that revelation is any form of communication from God, (2) that scripture is the written record, or form, or description of any kind of communication from God, (3) that inspiration is a form of revelation in which the five mortal sense apparently are not involved, (4) but that inspiration is genuine communication from God, therefore, genuine revelation, (5) and that all three (revelation, scripture, and inspiration) are the same in the sense that all three are communications from God.

TIME AND PLACE OF REVELATION ARE NOT THE ESSENCE.

Time and place of revelation are of no importance to a definition of revelation. That is, a revelation is no more or less a revelation because it occurred at one time and place instead of another time and place. Time and place are important, especially to those who receive the revelation. But time and place do not determine if an experience is a revelation, the important question is this: Did God communicate?

Nearly 2000 years before Christ, God told Abraham to get out of the land of his fathers and go to a place where he would be shown. About four hundred years later the same God told Moses to go back to Egypt and set the Israelites free. When about 400 more years had passed away the same God told Samuel to let the people of Israel put on the Joke of monarchy in accordance with their own foolish desires. And from time to time this same God spoke by one means or another to his servants the prophets, and to many others who had no prophetic callings.

The point of this discussion is this: when God spoke to Abraham, it was no less revelation that when he spoke to or revealed His will to a man. Time and place was not of the essence. The question was whether or not God communicated in each case.

The same principle would apply now. If God were to communicate His mind or will to the mind of man, it would be revelation today just the same as it was revelation yesterday. There is nothing about our time which would allow us to define God's communications with us as not being revelation while these same communications would have been revelation at an earlier date. It is not a question of when, but IF. IF God were to communicate with us today, it would be revelation just the same as it would have been in another time.

Let us use an example which will illustrate the principle under discussion by drawing a parallel. Suppose we were to say that when Brutus and Caesar spoke to each other, it was conversation; but, when the president of our country and his secretary of state speak to each other, it is not conversation, because conversation is a Latin word and we don't speak Latin in our time. Of course, this is a silly argument. It is not the word, but the idea which it conveys which is important. And it is not the time, but the nature of the operation, which is important. The Romans conversed with each other. We converse with each other. It is the same operation in each case.

The Lord spoke to ancient man. We call that revelation. If he were to speak to modern man, it would be revelation. It would be the same operation as it was in ancient times.

Since inspiration is a form of revelation, we can say also that, if God inspires modern man, it is revelation. It boils down to this: if you believe you can be inspired or any man can be inspired today, you must accept the possibility of modern revelation.

DEFINITION OF REVELATION NOT DEPENDENT ON IDENTITY OF RECIPIENT.

Revelation is no less, or more revelation because of WHO receives it. Brutus and Caesar conversed. It was conversation. We converse with one another. It is conversation. God communicated to Abraham. It was revelation. God communicated to Moses. It was revelation. If God were to communicate to a national leader today, as many believe He has from time to time in the past, to help him run the affairs of state, this would be revelation. It also would be in answer to the prayers of thousands of devout Christians throughout the world who earnestly supplicate God to inspire the leaders of nations. By their prayers they admit a faith in modern revelation, even if the creeds of their churches say that there has been no revelation since the Bible.

PRAYER AND REVELATION.

If a church teaches that there can be no revelation in our day, it has denied any and all communication from God; hence, it has denied the efficacy of prayer.

Jesus taught us to pray. he also promised us our prayers would be answered. (John 14:14 Matthew 21:21). It must be apparent that it would be better to pray for wisdom than for riches in most cases. Solomon was commended for his desire for wisdom and his desire was granted. Some of the wisdom of Solomon is still with us to this day in the form of certain inspired books of scripture contained in the Bible. James directed us to seek wisdom from God if we lack such wisdom, and promised that God would grant us that which we desire. (James 1:5). This is a promise of revelation. For, if we receive an answer from God when we request wisdom, that answer would have to be communication from God, which is revelation from God just the same as it was inspiration, or revelation, and scripture  when Solomon received wisdom in accordance with the promise of God to him. It should be apparent to the reader that any man who believes in prayer believes in inspiration, or, in other words, modern revelation.

Unique among the churches of Christendom is the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. For our church, in contrast to the time-honored traditions of the catholic and Protestant world, announced, to all who would listen, from its beginning that God had spoken again, that we have modern prophets and apostles to receive the instructions of God in the affairs of the whole church and that individuals in the church, or out of it, can be guided into the paths of truth by the same power which Christ and the apostles promised to all who ever would be saved. (John 14:26 15:26 16:7-13 Acts 2:39).

And that power is the power of the Holy Ghost, which in turn, is the power of revelation. And the proof that we mean what we say is that we have additional scriptures, or revelation besides the Bible to offer the world.

If you deny revelation, you deny the purpose of the Holy Ghost, because His purpose is to teach, to expand, to remember and to testify and without revelation there is not any of these things and therefore even the Holy Ghost would be nullify.

It is well explained that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy Revelation 19:10.

A real Christian can't deny prophecy, or revelation or inspiration because he would destroy the very base on which his testimony is based.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:50  

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