06 June 2017

Revelations From Above & Revelations From Below: Part 2


...continued from Part 1

Revelation is not according to a man's effort, but according to God's will, choice and timing.

God chooses who to speak to / through.

Many people do strange things in an effort to attain revelation.

Some people have hid themselves in caves for long periods of time, expecting something mystical to happen to them.

Some people claim that a dream they have was undoubtedly a message from God, yet when their message is shared, it is contrary to what has been understood about God.

It doesn't produce a greater understanding of God, but actually diminishes or confuses what has already been made clear and understood.

Others dress in certain ways, or sit silently in a certain position for long periods of time, or shut out all outside stimulation and people, in an effort to gain spirituality or an insight from God or somewhere.

But we do not find such instructions in the Word of God.
The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. 
- Proverbs 14: 15
A person's effort does not cause God to grant them revelation, because it is God who decides what is revealed and to whom such secrets or insights are revealed to, and for what purpose.

This is why if one claims to speak on behalf of God, and claims God has spoken revelation through them, their message must match the pattern that has already been established by God in His Word.

Why?
Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this Word, they have no light of dawn. 
- Isaiah 8: 20
His Word clarifies what makes a prophetic revelation and shows what is truly from Himself.

His Word also clarifies who is a pretender, a false prophet, and how people can tell the difference.

Let us read the manner God has established prophetic revelations to be revealed.
The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put My words in His mouth. He will tell them everything I command Him. I Myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to My words that the Prophet speaks in My Name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in My Name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” 
You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the Name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. 
- Deuteronomy 18: 17-22
The fulfillment of a message (or all messages) is what distinguishes a prophetic revelation, or a prophet, from a pretender.

A prophet of God, and God's revelation, is proven by the evidence of the message coming true.

The prophecy actually happening, is the test.

Notice the Prophet mentioned in verses 17-22 is a descendent of Israel; from the children of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel by God).

From this basis one can look at the past, read what was claimed, and distinguish between false prophets and actual prophets of God, even who the Prophet that Moses was talking about.

Does the Prophet mentioned in verses 17-22 come from anywhere else other than Israel?

No.

This is how the Hebrews could tell the prophets from the pretenders, what was true from what was false.

The Hebrews kept the messages that were fulfilled, and discarded the claims of a pretender, based again on the prophetic revelations actually happening.

Moses was qualified by the messages, warnings and promises God made through him...because they all came to pass!

Through Moses, God warned Pharaoh and promised plague...and then caused plague after plague to come upon Egypt.

Through Moses, God promised to rescue Israel...and they were rescued from bondage and left Egypt, being fed and watered in a barren desert.

The miracles or signs in this instance were a byproduct of the message, not the main factor regarding prophecy.

Again, the message having come true was the evidence that the prophetic revelations were from God.

How else is someone distinguished as speaking a prophetic message?

What else was mentioned regarding prophets, and Moses, in particular?
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t He also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. 
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) 
At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; He stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, He said, “Listen to My words: 
“When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal Myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; He sees the form of the Lord... 
- Numbers 12: 1-8a
Aside from the chastisement to Aaron and Miriam, notice the detail in how God reveals Himself to a prophet.

Notice it is the Lord Himself who speaks to and through prophets.

God directly speaks to His chosen speaker in visions and/or dreams.

God had also spoken through Aaron and Miriam, speaking messages to Israel through them.

A side note and question: what was the special case with Moses?

Moses was allowed to see the “form of the Lord”.

Notice how it says “the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud...stood at the entrance”.

Some religious people claim that there have been no more prophetic messages, or prophets, after Christ.

Regarding the idea that no other prophets or prophetic revelations followed after Christ, the fact is many prophetic revelations have followed in the Way of Christ.

However, the prophetic revelations added nothing new or contradicted Christ's Gospel message nor added to the New Covenant in His Holy Name.

The prophetic revelations that followed Christ were from God speaking certain messages, to certain people, regarding certain things, and in the Name of Yeshua Christ.

One mentioned by name, among a group of other prophets, was Agabus:
During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. 
- Acts 11: 27-30
Notice the prophetic revelation was specific; warning of a famine.

Notice the revelation fostered a reaction; to provide help.

Notice the how the prophetic revelation was given; stood up and through the Spirit predicted...

Clicking on the link with Claudius' name will show how this famine historically happened with citations from both Christian and secular sources.

This hopefully may eliminate a circular logic accusation, although some may accuse argument from authority, but such is the manner history is researched, portrayed and understood when looking at the past to decipher fact from fiction.

There is another instance mentioning a prophetic message from Agabus, and also a mention of four unmarried women who also had the gift of prophetic revelation.

The early church has many writings that mention other prophetic revelations, with detailed messages and their fulfillments taking place.

The book of Revelation came through visions with an extraordinary experience the Apostle John had, being taken into heaven in the Spirit, and being shown many things, some of which he was forbidden to share.

John is yet another prophet that lived after Christ.

Regarding the issue of a miracle needing to accompany a claimed prophetic revelation, this issue is clarified with John the Baptist, the prophet who preceded the Lord Yeshua Christ:
Then Yeshua went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There He stayed, and many people came to Him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Yeshua. 
- John 10: 41-42
Again it is reaffirmed that the message (it being true and coming to pass) is the main qualifier, not a sign or a miracle to prove a message's truthfulness.

Why are there warnings and instruction to keep obedience to the Word of God?

Notice how important obedience to the Word and testimony is besides wonders, signs and miracles:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your Name and in your Name drive out demons and in your Name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’ 
- Matthew 7: 21-23
Obedience: only the one who does the will of My Father.

This is why following the testimony since the beginning, and the command to obey God's Word, is superior to a miracle or sign attempting to prove a prophetic message, or a claimant to prophethood.

This is not to say that miracles cannot or do not occur Today, but the message itself must not only come to pass, the prophetic revelation must also continue what has been previously revealed.

Why?
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. 
- Matthew 24: 24-25
This warning from Yeshua Christ is further confirmation that a prophetic revelation needs to be based on what has developed since the beginning, in order to not be deceived.

This warning also affirms that signs and miracles that try to teach a different message than what has already been established in Christ are not to be trusted, but recognized as manifestations of the spirit world around us, not of the truth.

Since Christ is the Prophet that Moses wrote about, and the Old Covenant was fulfilled by Christ.
If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 
John 5: 46
Christ then established the New and Everlasting Covenant.

What the Messiah has established is the Way in which all who believe now realize.

How is this so?

God's Spirit is how God brings forth revelation.
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Yeshua began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. 
- Acts 1: 1-2

Notice how after being raised from the dead, Yeshua had appeared to different people at different times, and was giving instructions as and through the Holy Spirit.

This is why Yeshua mentioned another Advocate to His disciples, Himself being the prior Advocate having appeared in the flesh and having lived with them, then further promising He wouldn't leave them as orphans, but would return to them.
If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I Am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I Am in you. 
- John 14: 15-20

Notice yet again obedience: if you love Me, keep My commands.

Notice also the unity revealed, for truly we are one with God in Yeshua Christ!

Notice how Yeshua lived among them: but you know Him, for He lives with you.

Notice the manner the return of Yeshua as the Spirit will exist: you will realize that I Am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I Am in you.

To see how the Spirit worked in the Old Testament and still speaks Today, I suggest reading the entirety of Ezekiel's revelation, but here is an example:
He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As He spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard Him speaking to me. 
- Ezekiel 2: 1-2
Notice the same occurred with Agabus as it did long ago with Ezekiel.

Ezekiel was a prophet at the time of Israel's exile, after the tribes of Israel had settled the promised land for several centuries, before Christ's advent.

After Christ, we read this regarding the Spirit, prophecy, revelation and the like regarding the saints:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that One Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of One and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines. 
- 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11
Notice that all believers in Yeshua as Messiah and Savior are gifted the Holy Spirit, and it is possible that a further gift may be developed in them, as God determines (not according to a person's will or desire).

The theme we've seen repeated has been obedience to God's Word, and the direction from God is found from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

We also see the test to determine whether a prophetic revelation is from God is whether or not that message comes to pass.

We have seen that God speaks to those chosen to hear Him, and those who were commissioned to forward messages for Him.

It has always been God's Spirit, since God is Spirit, which has spoken through and to those chosen to hear Him.

When the Spirit became flesh as Yeshua Christ, He lived among the believers...and promised not to abandon them because He would no longer be among them in the flesh, but within them in the Spirit.

In Part 3 we will look at how pretenders and false prophets were identified in the Scriptures, and whether or not a final prophet has been revealed by God, or if that was simply a claim from somewhere else.

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