Topics: Divine Revelation

Stories about personal divine revelation – God to me.

“Knowing” God in the Old Testament

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

In my experience in popular theology, I have frequently read and heard the notion that the God of the Old Testament scriptures was somewhat distant from his people in relation to how the modern Christian experiences him today. With the advent of the coming of Christ and the ushering in of the New Covenant, a new closeness and intimacy with God was now possible to a degree not experienced before through the impartation of the Holy Spirit.  This concept may be further solidified by Jesus’ comment that “the Counselor” will not come to his people until Christ had completed his work and returned to the Father.[1] This idea of God’s closeness to his people being different from one Covenant to the next has always bothered me, most likely because of a perceived consistency of God’s character and his dealings with people summarized by the author of Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”[2] It seems odd to me that he would treat his people differently in terms of relational intimacy from one covenant to another.

In order to understand this issue better, I have chosen to examine the Old Testament’s use of the Hebrew word yāda‘ , (to perceive, to know) in terms of God “knowing” man or man “knowing” God.  With a thorough study of this word and its nuanced meanings found throughout the Old Testament and a brief look at its counterparts in the Ancient Near Eastern languages of the time, a good foundation can be laid for further studies in the disciplines of theology and philosophy.  None of these disciplines or any topic within them, however, will be addressed. Read the rest of this entry »

Another dream

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I had another one of those dreams.

This time I was in the South – probably during the Civil rights era. In my dream, I had grown up in this mid-sized town somewhere, and it appeared that I was somewhere in my 60s or 70s. There was a big scandal that had just happened in town – an African American boy of about 15 or so had been caught dating a white girl. It was the talk of the town. Nothing seemed to have been done by the law in the town, but the poor boy was the object of scorn anytime he showed his face in public. Unfortunately, it was a small enough town that everyone knew each other, so it was hard for him to hide.

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Friday, February 9th, 2007

A long time ago, I had a dream. It was one of the most amazing dreams I’ve ever had, and I felt tonight that I should write about it.

I can’t remember what I was going through at the time in my life, but usually dreams like this come when I am really discouraged. But I don’t even remember what exactly it was I was discouraged with. This is probably because my dream was so powerful it overshadowed all my memories in the year it happened. It will definitely sound weird to most, and if it isn’t helpful, just stop reading it. I just don’t have the talent for writing about things in my life that are so wild.

In my dream, I remember being in a place of fog – I could not see further than a few yards in any direction, but I believe I was standing on a smooth hard surface. Even though I could not see, there was an ambient light that made my entire surroundings glow, so I was not in darkness. What happened next is very hard for me to describe.

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Can a person please God or be saved without direction revelation?

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

These are some thoughts from my father on this subject – one that has bothered me for a long time now and I have often sought to figure it out in more detail. But as you can see in a list of 26 points, the Bible is pretty clear — absolutely!

  1. Enoch, who had no access to any direct revelation from God, “walked with God” (Gen 5:24). Apparently human beings, even without direct revelation, had been given enough to enable them to seek to live righteously and to be able to please God.
  2. Likewise Noah “walked with God” prior to receiving any direct revelation from God; he was “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time” (Gen 6:9); and “he found favor in the eyes of the Lord”–before God spoke to him (Gen 6:8)
  3. It seems unlikely that Enoch was the only human being who pleased God during the time between Noah and Abraham (the two individuals who received direct revelation from God). God apparently did not seem pressed to give more direct revelation in order to make it possible for the millions of human beings who lived during those 10 generations to hear, and be saved.
  4. Did all the people on earth go to hell during the 400 years that the Israelites sojourned in Egypt, since there was no direct revelation from God during that period of time?
  5. Did all the people on earth go to hell, except for a few Israelites, between the time of Moses (ca. 1440 B.C.) and Jesus’ death (A.D. 31), since no one except for the Israelites had access to God’s direct revelation during this time? If God provided a way for human beings without direct revelation to be accepted by God during these years, does this mean that God-fearing people in the Fiji Islands (or China or Tibet) could go to heaven if they lived during the time from 3000 B.C. to 31 A.D., but would go to hell if they lived during the time from 31 A.D. onward? Wouldn’t this mean that Christ’s death actually doomed to hell countless thousands or millions of God-fearing people in distant lands who had the misfortune of being born after, rather than before, Christ’s death?
  6. If God provided a way for God-fearing non-Israelites to “be saved” without access to direct revelation during the millennia before Christ, did he suddenly change the rules at the moment Christ died on the cross?
  7. God’s revelation of himself to the Israelites (the OT) never claims that it gives the Israelites a better chance of going to heaven than non-Israelites.
  8. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, who had never received revelation from God, was a priest of God and instructed Moses (Exodus 18).
  9. Melchizedek, who never received any direct revelation from God, was a priest of God who was highly commended in Scripture.
  10. The Law given to Moses was not perceived as a way for people to “get saved” or go to heaven.
  11. God would have saved the city of Sodom if there had been 10 righteous people there–which suggests that people in a non-Israelite city could live righteous lives and be pleasing God.
  12. The Syrian Naaman and the Phoenician woman of Zarephath were righteous individuals, and they were more pleasing to God than the Israelites, despite the fact that, unlike the Israelites, they had not received any divine revelation.
  13. Job, who had never received any direct revelation about God, was the most righteous man on the earth at the time. This would mean that Job was more pleasing to God than any of the Israelites, who had access to God’s direct revelation. People in OT times who had never heard about the true God of Israel could live righteous lives and be more pleasing to God than those who had received God’s direct revelation.
  14. The book of Job often refers to “the righteous” (among the nations), as those who please God, etc. (e.g., Job 28:28).
  15. God accepts Job’s three friends (Job 42:9ff.)
  16. The books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes divide mankind up into “the righteous” and “the wicked”–without regard to whether or not they have received direct revelation (e.g., “it will go better for those who fear God . . . ”–contra the wicked)
  17. In the NT, the Phoenician woman amazed Jesus by her faith (Matt 15:21-28).
  18. The Roman centurian amazed Jesus by his faith (“I have not found such great faith in Israel!” (Matthew 8 ).
  19. Jesus declared, “Many will come from the east and west and take their places at the feast of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom [of Israel] will be thrown outside . . . ” (Matt. 8:11-12)
  20. The Roman Cornelius and his family were living lives that were pleasing to God before they heard anything about the Gospel: “He and his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10).
  21. Peter to Cornelius: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35)
  22. The woman from Thyatira, Lydia, who was not Jewish, is described as “a worshiper of God”; and the Lord opened her heart to receive Paul’s message of the Gospel (Acts 16:14).
  23. Not only Jews, but God-fearing Gentiles keep turning to Christ throughout the book of Acts.
  24. Paul to the Athenians: “God has given all men life and breath and everything else, . . . God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each on one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being’. As some of you own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring’” (Acts 17:25-28).
  25. God said to Paul, about the city of Corinth: “Do not be afraid; I have many people in this city (Acts 18:9). Apparently a number of the (Gentile) inhabitants of Corinth, even before Paul arrived there with the Gospel, were God-fearing people that God considered his own.
  26. Regarding those who have never received the kind of direct revelation which the Jews received, Paul explains: God judges all human beings justly, rewarding those who seek to live righteously and punishing those who live wickedly. God gives eternal life to the righteous, and he punishes the wicked (Romans 2:6-11).

The walk

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Well, just when I didn’t think my life could get any wilder, it did. If you haven’t read my previous post about what had happen today and last night, check it out. After I had finally got my life in order after my car accident, I laid down for a well deserved night sleep.

That didn’t happen.

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Messages From Myth

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I have written before about the power of myth in my life. Myth is visual imagery, a story, a song, a smell, a dream, and even a touch that communicates spiritual truth right into our hearts and bypasses our minds. In truth, it can be communicated through any of the senses. Mythic messages come to me daily – accompanied by feelings that can only be described as deep joy, borrowing C.S. Lewis’ word, and they remind me about spiritual truths in my life. Here are some of these messages or glimpses of truth that I have received in these many different ways in the last 20 years:

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Analogy of the spiritual life

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

What is the alternative to “religion?” If it is so bad, what are we to do instead to find nourishment for the spiritual side of us? To answer this question, I will tell a story.
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Thinking inside-out

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

I was just reading a though-provoking post over at my favorite spiritual blog It was about being moved spiritually, out of nowhere, by a familiar song. John talked about this experience and then asked the readers what they would do with it. Having a similar experience, I tried to explain what I thought was going on and gave an example of this happening in my life, but forgot to answer the question. The gist of what my guess was going on is that music is a vehicle for spiritual truth combined with myth gleaned from both the melody and the lyrics, and we are sometimes moved spiritually by the messages in it. (You can read my comment for more details)

What I began to think about was the benefits of this mode of communication. I believe that this is the divine speaking to us, not unlike Jesus did when speaking in parables. The one obvious benefit is complex spiritual truth understood instantly. This is a great benefit, but I believe there is a second and no less important benefit.
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