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'Those Things Which Are Revealed'

It was Moses who said, '"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever"' (Deut.29:29). Christians believe that God has taken the initiative in revealing Himself to men and women. It is a matter of regret that in both East and West there is widespread interest in the hidden and mysterious which has led to an explosion of interest in the occult. By contrast, there is in the main neglect of what God has revealed. It was one of Job's friends who posed the question, '"Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?"' (11:7). Men and women cannot search out the deep things of God. The knowledge of God comes by divine revelation. Until the Creator discloses Himself, He is inaccessible to His creatures. God has chosen by various means of revelation to illuminate mankind's darkened understanding.

Many have questioned the possibility of a divine Self-revelation. Can human language be a vehicle for the expression of thoughts which originate in the mind of Deity? This supposed problem is of man's own making because doubting the possibility of divine revelation is to imply a limit to the power of God. In His loving wisdom God can find ways of revealing Himself and communicating His will. There are also those who dispute that there is verbal or recorded revealed truth. They sometimes concede that God reveals Himself in acts, but they go on to deny that Scripture is God's Self-revelation. Yet others reason that the Bible is a record of man's understanding of the significance of the acts of God. According to this view, the Bible is not revelation and does not have the authority of absolute truth. Each generation, they would say, must make its own assessment of the worth of Scripture. However, revelation cannot be reduced to a subjective experience; nor can it be equated with our best insights.

Before the Fall there was no barrier to communication between Adam and Eve and their Creator. The very environment in which they were placed bore eloquent testimony to the Creator's power and wisdom, and even now creation still declares God's glory. The witness to God's power and divinity by the things that are made is frequently referred to in Scripture (Rom.1:20; Ps.19:1-6). But Adam also received a verbal revelation which contained a loyalty test of obedience to his Creator. When Adam disobeyed the command of God, sin intruded into his life and deeply affected his relationship with God. Since the Fall, God's Self-revelation has in view man's redemption and restoration to fellowship with Himself. In pursuit of this there were men to whom God revealed Himself in a special way: Enoch communed and 'walked with God, Abraham became the friend of God, God spoke with Moses face to face'. God revealed Himself through spoken word and visions to His servants the prophets. They had authority to preface their messages with, 'thus says the LORD'. Amos was acutely aware of being a channel of divine revelation: 'Surely the LORD God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets' (Amos 3:7). There were occasions when the prophets realized that the full significance of what they wrote would be revealed to future generations (1 Pet.1:10-12).

Since God's purposes in revelation are progressive, divine truth has not been disclosed all at once. Revelation through the prophets was partial and intermittent, but not defective at any point. It was moving towards a climax, 'But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son' (Gal.4:4). God's purposes in revelation reach finality in the Word Incarnate, the only-begotten Son of God who has revealed and declared the Father. The Person and work of Christ and apostolic testimony to Him in the New Testament are God's final words to men and women.

Divinely disclosed truth demands a response. The reception of a divine revelation makes men and women accountable, for increased light brings increased responsibility. Divine enlightenment places obligations on its recipients. When the prophet Micah was revealing God's will to His people he made it clear that God requires a response,

'What does the LORD require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?' (Mic.6:8).