The Revelation of God – Special Revelation
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” – 2 Peter 1:19-21
Last week we looked at two ways in which God has revealed Himself to mankind in a general way. These ways were Creation, and Conscience. Although we can gain an understanding of who God is when we look at this revelation, at the end of the day it is only general. It does not go into the specifics of who God is, what He is like, and how we are to respond towards Him. General revelation cannot save a soul from God, it only makes a person aware of God by revealing some of His attributes to them. Mankind needs far more than just a general revelation of God in order to be saved.
It is at this time that we can really answer our question, “How can the study of Theology even be possible?” Theology as we know, is the study of God, therefore the number one way that we can know more about God is when God chooses to reveal Himself to us in a personal way. A deeper, fuller, and far more complete understanding of God must come to mankind for us to truly know him. This understanding of God is what we call, “Special Revelation”.
A Knowledge of God through Special Revelation. To refresh our memory, we will state again the definition of special revelation. It is, “God’s personal and detailed disclosure of who He is, what He is like, and how we are to respond towards Him as outlined in His Word.” Now, besides just the Word of God there are, to be sure, other categories of special revelation that God has used in the past to reveal Himself such as through miracles and prophecy. But in the present day, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us solely through His Word. In this article, I wish to detail special revelation by looking at one specific way that God revealed Himself to us in the past, and also looking at how God currently chooses to reveal himself to us in the present.
(I) God Revealed in His Son: The Lord Jesus Christ. One of the greatest ways that God has revealed Himself to us is when He became a man, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This God-man lived upon the earth for 33 years displaying the character, attributes, glory, and majesty of God in a personal way. He was “…the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…” (Jn. 1:14). Christ is the revelation of God. The author of Hebrews writes in Hebrews 1:1-3a,
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature…”
Jesus Christ, as the author writes, it the exact representation of God Himself, they have the same nature. He is the, “…image of the invisible God…” (Col. 1:15), God Himself in the flesh. It is through Jesus Christ, His teaching, preaching, actions, and sinless life itself that we have a grand picture of the character of God. It is through Christ that we come to know God! Christ Himself says, “…before Abraham was born, I am.” (Jn. 8:58) and also, “I and the Father are one.” (Jn. 10:30). Jesus was the great ‘I AM’, He was one with the Father. He revealed the love of God (John 3:14-16), the righteousness of God (Jn. 17:25), the word of God (Jn. 1:14; 17:14), the works of God (Jn. 5:19-21), the will of God in salvation (Matt. 4:17), and the care of God for His people (Lk. 12:30-32). Truly we have a special revelation of God in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ!
(II) God Revealed in His Word: The Holy Scriptures. We know that God has revealed Himself ever so clearly in His Son Jesus Christ. But more than showing Himself to us as a man God has chosen another way to reveal Himself. This way is; The Word of God. The Revelation of God in His Word is greater than any experience that we as mankind can have. Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:19, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shinning in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
The Word of God is a sure and solid revelation of God Himself. Peter continues by explaining that we know the Word of God’s surety because God is the agent behind the writing of His Word. He says in verses 20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
The Word of God reveals God to us and explains God to us in all other forms of revelation. It shows how God is a work in His creation, in history and in our conscience. The Word of God gives accounts of God at work in special revelation through miracles performed by God in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament. It speaks of prophecy and shows is fulfilled hundreds of years later. It showcases the sovereign workings of God in this world down through the annals of history. Finally, the Word of God reveals to us in detail the life of Jesus Christ, God Himself in the flesh!
The Special Revelation of God through His Word is in our hands. It is here to point us to Him and give proof of who He is. It also completes the answer to the question we posed a few weeks ago, “How can the study of Theology even be possible?” The possibility of Theology comes through both the general revelation of God and the special revelation of God! God has revealed Himself to us in many ways and in His Word. The question you must ask your own heart today is, “Do I know this God?” If not, then take His Word and begin to find out who Your Creator is.