Biblical Theological Seminary                                                                      Dr. Robert C. Newman

12th Theological Institute                                                                                             June 10, 1983

The Christian & the Bible                                                                 "Revelation Beyond the Bible"

 

I. Is There Revelation Beyond the Bible?

 

            Answer: of course!

 

                        General Revelation (Psalm 19:1‑6; Rom 1:18‑20; Acts 14:15‑17)

                        Special Revelation in Bible times not recorded or not preserved: e.g.,

                                    Many other acts & words of Jesus (Jn 20:30; 21:25)

                                    Probably some apostolic teaching, even a letter or so (e.g., 1 Cor 5:9)

                                    Probably numerous words of Moses & prophets

                                    Plan for temple (1 Chr 28:11,12,19)

 

            Our concern, though, is rather related to what is happening today:

 

II. Do We Have Continuing Revelation Today?

 

            If we exclude general revelation, this is a hot topic of controversy, and not so easily answered as one might like

 

            Rev 22:18‑19 commonly used to exclude continuing revelation; but by itself not decisive, since similar statements occur in Deut 4:2 and Prov 30:6; besides, Rev 11:3ff indicates 2 witnesses in last days (presumably after apostolic period) who are sent from God as prophets

 

            Stronger case can be made from salvation history, where eras of future revelation are predicted:

 

                        ERA                PREDICTION

 

                        Pre‑Mosaic      Abraham => Mosaic  (Gen 15: 13‑16)

                        Mosaic            Moses => Prophets  (Deut 18: 14‑22)

                        Prophetic         Prophets => Christ  (Ps 22; Isa 7,9,53, Dan 9, etc.)

                        Messianic        Christ => Apostles (Jn 14:25‑26;16:12‑13)

                        Apostolic         Apostles => 2nd Coming (frequently)

 

            But even here, those claiming to have special revelation can point to Acts 2:17‑20, where it is hard to argue this was explicitly intended to cease when the apostles died.

 

            For written revelation, can make a strong argument that book of Revelation is intentionally designed as mirror‑image of beginning of Genesis (creation, curse, death, tree of life, paradise, God's presence, etc.), therefore not to expect further written revelation; this would not rule out more informal, unwritten revelation like that of Agabus, etc. (Acts 11:27‑28; 21:8‑11)

           

            Not possible to say beyond quibble whether additional revelation today, but frequent references to false prophets, antichrist, etc. suggests burden of proof is on one claiming to be a prophet; better not to go beyond Scripture to give dogmatic answer, rather handle problem as Scripture does.

 

III. How Do We Distinguish True Revelation from False?

 

            Presence of signs distinguishes faked revelation from real supernatural (Deut 13:1; 1 K 13:3; 2 K 20:8); but Satan has supernatural powers, too!

            Prediction without error a mark of true prophet (Deut 18:20‑22; 1 K 22:24‑28); Satan unable to predict w/o error (Isa 44:24‑28).

            Message fitting previous revelation necessary for true prophet (Deut 13:1‑3; Gal 1:8‑9; 1 Jn 4:1‑3); Satan cannot afford to continually agree w/ Bible!

            Lifestyle consistent with holiness also a good test (Matt 7:15‑23; 2 Thess 2:7‑12).

 

Conclusions

 

            It is not going to be possible to satisfy all Christians that prophecy and revelation have ceased, but we should not therefore resort to strained exegesis.

            Rather apply Biblical tests for recognizing true and false prophets.

            Notice these tests require us to know the Bible, to know what righteousness looks like, and to use our God‑given mental powers instead of surrendering them to our teachers.