While God (in general revelation) reveals some of Himself to all people, God (in special revelation) reveals all of Himself to some people.
This is special revelation, where we learn of the details of redemption through the Bible. Hebrews 1:1-3 shows this, ‘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, whom He appointed Heir of all things, through whom He also created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the Word of His power.’
Here we see the pattern of special revelation God has done throughout redemptive history. Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, the Apostles, the Bible, and the Church.
a) Moses: God revealed Himself to the Patriarch’s Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in various dreams, visions, and sometimes even audible speech. But we don’t find God telling anyone to write down His special revelation until we get to Moses. This makes Moses the first prophet of God’s people, through whom God would reveal Himself to Israel, giving His Word to His people. Moses wrote down what God told Him to and the finished product is Genesis-Deuteronomy (the Torah, or Septuagint), the Law.
b) The Prophets: After the death of Moses, God raises up prophet after prophet, sometimes two at a time to reveal Himself to Israel, giving His Word to His people. When you survey the main bulk of teaching and preaching these Old Testament prophets did you realize they were calling God’s people back to Moses, or back to the Law. They were calling them back to the Word.
c) Jesus: Finally after years and years of prophet after prophet giving God’s Word to God’s people, God Himself revealed the exact imprint of His nature, and gave His people the Incarnate Word, His Son Jesus Christ. Every prophet, priest, and King foreshadowed Jesus, and in Christ we find the true Prophet who is the very Word of God given to God’s people, the true Priest who makes the perfect sacrifice by offering Himself on the altar of God, and the true King who rules over God’s people sitting at the right hand of God the Father, who will come again to usher in His Kingdom fully, and judge the world in righteousness.
d) Apostles: After Jesus’ earthly ministry we see Him pass on the message of salvation to His apostles, who then, after Pentecost, spread the message of the gospel in the power of the Spirit, and we see God grow His Church through His preached Word. There is a pattern here. Just as God used Moses’ preaching to reveal Himself and gather all Israel, after Pentecost it was the apostles preaching that God used to reveal Himself and gather His Church.
e) The Bible: Then, as Moses wrote down the Law, we see the apostles being inspired and carried along by the Holy Spirit to write down Scripture. Their Scripture when completed was compiled is now the way God reveals Himself and gathers His people. Thus, this Bible we have in our hands is God’s final special revelation to us.
f) The Church: Just as the prophets were given God’s Word to call God’s people back to the Law, so too now the Church is to use God’s Word to call God’s people back to the Scriptures given to us by the apostles.
Tomorrow I’ll discuss why this matters…