By Jeff Dominguez
Would you love it if God talks to you directly?
That would be so nice! Especially now that we know that He truly exists, surely, we would like to know more about Him. This is exactly what Special Revelation is all about. If General Revelation reveals the existence of God, Special Revelation reveals the will of God.
According to Millard Erickson in his book, Christian Theology, Special Revelation is “God’s manifestation of Himself to particular persons at definite times and places, enabling those persons to enter into a redemptive relationship with Him.” The keyword here is “particular” which is why special revelation is also known as particular revelation. To make it simple, if general revelation is the grand universal declaration of God’s presence, special revelation is God’s personal revelation to a chosen few. He does this not because these persons are special than the others, but because God has chosen them to be the channel to deliver this particular message to the world. This is also why special revelation contains more information about God. Through His encounters with these chosen people, God has revealed more specific information about Himself, His plans, His commands, and His will.
In special revelation, there are these so-called “modalities.” These are the various ways that God has used to communicate. Some of these are:
- Historical Events – Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:3-4)
- Theophanies – Temporal spiritual manifestations of God like the “Angel of the Lord” (Exod.3:1-3)
- Dreams and Visions – (Daniel 9:20-27)
- The Prophets & Apostles – (Deut. 18:15-22; Eph. 2:20)
So, if we look at it, special revelation is very, very nice! I’m sure that all of these people whom God talked directly will never forget that moment.
But how about us? Does God still speak to us directly? Does He still do special revelation?
Does God still speak to us? YES. But does He still reveal new information? A BIG NO.
In the Book of Hebrews, it was revealed that God won’t do any more special revelations and the days where He speaks through the modalities mentioned above is over. In these last days, God will only speak to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and through the recordings of His previous special revelations, which is the Holy Bible.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son (Jesus Christ), whom He appointed the Heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.”Hebrews 1:1-2
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:14-17
This is also known as the Doctrine of the Sufficiency of Scriptures. It simply teaches that the Holy Bible is now the only modality through which God will speak to us. So yes, God does still speak to us directly, but not through dreams or visions or angels, BUT THROUGH THE BIBLE. The Bible that I am referring to is the Bible that consists of the 66 canonical books (39 Old Testament, 27 New Testament) that were recognized by the early Christian church.
From time to time, I hear people claim that God has spoken to their hearts to do this or that, or some say that God has spoken to them in their dreams. While I do not disclaim them, I personally believe that God will only speak to us through the Bible. If you’ve noticed, most of the false teachings that we hear today came from heretics who claim to have received their knowledge from God through their dreams. This is why for me, it is very dangerous to rely on these external sources for God’s revelation. As a firm believer in Sola Scriptura (Latin for “By Scripture Alone”), I sincerely believe that God won’t speak to us outside the Bible. And here’s the funny thing: many people are hungry to hear God speak to them, but most of them are also very lazy to read their Bibles. IF YOU WANT GOD TO SPEAK TO YOU, READ THE BIBLE.
Going back to those who claim that God has spoken to them through their hearts or their dreams, here’s my take: IF IT WAS INDEED GOD WHO HAD SPOKEN TO YOU OUTSIDE THE BIBLE, THEN IT SHOULDN’T CONTRADICT WHAT HE SAID IN THE BIBLE. We can settle through this. You can be sure if that was God if what He said to you did not contradict what He said in the Bible. Always remember, God will never contradict Himself. One of the divine attributes of God is He’s immutable, which means He doesn’t change. Given this, even if God has spoken to you through other means, you will still need to read the Bible to fact-check it. So in the end, you will still go back to read the Bible! (So why not just focus on it, right?)
God also gave a very explicit command that the Bible is complete and no one should add anything to it, or remove any part from it. God is very serious about this.
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”Revelation 22:18:-19
So again, God still speaks to us but He doesn’t reveal any more new information or revelation. EVERYTHING IS ALREADY IN THE BIBLE. He speaks to us through His written word. As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy, the Bible is enough to make us complete and equipped to serve God.
Lastly, the main message of God’s special revelation is Jesus Christ. The reason why God revealed Himself to us is that He wants to have a relationship with us. And the kind of relationship that God wants to have with us is the redemptive kind of relationship. The story of the Bible is all about God’s redemption of mankind through Jesus Christ. The Bible contains the good news of God’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. IF GENERAL REVELATION IS CALLING US TO BELIEVE IN GOD, SPECIAL REVELATION IS CALLING US TO BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST.
The Bible reveals that all of us have sinned before God (Romans 3:23) and because of that, we are all deserving of God’s eternal punishment, death (Romans 6:23). But the good news is God has given us a way to be saved from this punishment. God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. He suffered and died on the cross for us to pay for our sins (Romans 5:8). As a result, all we need to do to be saved is to BELIEVE IN JESUS as our Lord and Savior (John 3:16/Acts 16:29-31).
As I close, special revelation is as beautiful as general revelation. Both of them reveal the glory, beauty, and goodness of God. Both of these revelations imply that God wants to communicate with us. He is the one reaching out to us. I am hoping that God has spoken to your heart through this article and may you start to accept and believe in the message of God. Again, God is reaching out to you; now, He is waiting for you to answer His call.