It's Revelation, Not Discovery

People ponder their existence. They seek answers to questions. The world's religions and philosophies are the results. The people of one religion or philosophy may look at those of another and reason, "Their belief has as much validity as mine. Who's to say which, if any, is right?" This "toleration" philosophy has spread on a worldwide basis recently. The basis of this thinking lies in the belief different religions/philosophies are the result of men's discoveries, searching for purpose and God.

So how are Christianity and Judaism, from which it sprang, any different? Is there a difference? The Bible tells us there is. It boils down to Christianity is a revelation, not a discovery.

I. In The Beginning

Judaism starts with Abraham. Did Abraham discover God, or did God reveal Himself to Abraham? We're told God called Abraham from idolatry (Joshua 24:2,3). We're also told Abraham was the father of the faith (Romans 4:9-16). What kind of faith? Faith in fancies of his mind? No! Faith in the "promises" of God (Hebrews 11:8-10). God spoke to Abraham. He revealed Himself to him. He gave him directions and promises. He made a covenant with Abraham. All these speak of revelation.
The revelations continued. Abraham begat Isaac. Isaac likewise received revelation. We're told God appeared to Isaac and He repeated the promise He made to Abraham, his father (Genesis 26:24).
Isaac had a son, Jacob. Jacob also received revelation numerous times. Jacob was renamed "Israel", by God. Here we have the foundation laid for the nation through whom God chose to reveal Himself to mankind.

In the Psalms and the Prophets, there are three passages I want to take a close look at:

19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. Psalms 147:19,20

19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name. Isaiah 63:19 (II Kings 5:15)

2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Amos 3:2

These passages are very exclusive. Not only exclusive, they demonstrate that Judaism is The Revealed Truth of God. Where the truth's found isn't up to man, it's up to God! We see that God picked out only one nation on the entire planet to reveal Himself through - Israel. He revealed the truth to the world through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The following passage, to the converted Gentiles, makes the same point:

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: Ephesians 2:11,12

Apart from being in Christ, hence adopted into true Israel, we're without God in this world. There are a lot of people, even among Christians, who find this hard to accept. Let me give an example of the difficulty this creates:

A woman was a member of a support group. There was another member who appeared very spiritual. She seemed very loving and caring. She was zealous about her spiritual life. The first woman, the Christian, was sure this other woman knew God. From what was said, I gathered this other woman accepted Christianity as equally valid with her Indian ancestor's "Great Spirit". She thought, "if someone sincerely seeks God, whether through Indian religion or Christianity, He will not turn him away." This is the base of that "God discovered" not "God revealed" thinking. Such thinking plays into a hard field. It eventually means the Bible isn't God's revealed word (2 Timothy 3:16,17), and Jesus isn't the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). Either it's God's revelation, or Christ was a deceiver or a madman. There are no other options. Do you begin to see how crucial the truth is here? To stray from the foundation of the Bible, would inevitably end in fellowshipping with worshippers of devils.

If we say, "They discovered the truth about God as far as they could, and so He honors that", we have to deny the truth of the passages we looked at. (Those passages are only the tip of the iceberg. The picture unfolds as you read passages referring to "my people" and that tie this with Jerusalem - Ex. 3:7,10; 5:1; Lev. 26:12; Ps. 116:14,18; Ps. 125:2; Isaiah 1:3; Jer. 2:11, to name a few).
Both Paul and John were specific that Christianity is revealed. Take a look at what Paul said in Ephesians and what John said in I John:

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: Ephesians 1:9

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; Ephesians 3:3-5 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. . . . 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:1-3,5

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. . . . 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:20,27

Note: The unction of verse 20 is the anointing of verse 27.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. . . .14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:10,14

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 1 John 5:9

These scriptures should leave you in no doubt, as to the fact Christianity's the revealed truth of God to man.

II. Why Such Exclusivism?

We ask ourselves, "Why didn't God just reveal Himself to everyone?" The answer boils down to one word - "sin". Man, in his rebellious state, doesn't really want God. Man has a conscience, and certain fears that make him squirm. These cause him to search to find some ease for his troubled mind. Devils don't mind contributing supernatural manifestations (1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 10:20; Revelation 9:20). The man now has some supernatural answer (Look at the magicians who opposed Moses - Exodus 7:10-12). It boosts his pride at finding this, plus he gets ecstatic feelings. He's sure he's logged on to God, and follows this same route. It removes the discomfort to some degree, so the search continues with this new religion.
What went wrong, and why? Let's look at this religious founder. He starts out, "I think I'd like to get to know God." Inwardly, he's already determined his response to certain condemnations that a holy God would demand. He dislikes many points. The reality is, "if he were to get to know God, he would hate Him". God knows his heart. He sees that if he really did know Him, he wouldn't choose Him at all. Hence, this man isn't really desirous of God. He desires to ease his mind, and maybe some idle curiosity. You know, man's quest for knowledge. (John 17:25,26; Romans 1:15-25; Galatians 4:8; Ephesians 2:2,3; 4:17-19; 1 John 4:1-6; 5:19-21*)

1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:20

Though we declare God's revelation in our lives, the world still doesn't see. We tell it to them and they can't hear. Jesus made a point in this direction in the sermon on the mount:

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

Jesus shows that the quest for God has to be more than idle curiosity or to ease a troubled mind. An honest desire has to have this necessary element of hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Look at another:

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13,14

In these verses we find, "few there be that find it". Seekers again. This indicates many were seeking, many who never found it. The kind of search indicates the reason for success or failure. What's our heart really seeking? Only the right heart will have the right way revealed to it.

III. How Do I Know Christianity Is The Only Way?

Other religions make the same claim. They claim to be "revelations". Look at Mormonism and Islam. They each have their books. How do we know that Christianity isn't a pacifier, being easier than the truth?

We have two powerful witnesses I can only point at here. The subject's so vast, it would take volumes to exhaust. The first is the Bible. There's no other book on earth like it. No book filled with prophecy after prophecy that's never failed. Written by many writers, with diverse backgrounds, over centuries and not contradicting each other. That agreement is hard to find in a single magazine! That's one of the reasons why a single editor has to go over all the copy, before the finished product is ready to go out. I read a book that listed all the alleged contradictions in the Bible and examined them. There are no contradictions a closer look in the original languages or context, or the like, won't clear up.

There's an underlying miracle in the original languages. The Greek and Hebrew letters are also the Greek and Hebrew numbers. This means that the original texts can be translated out as mathematical renderings. It forms a composition of mathematical harmony that a computer would be hard pressed to create, let alone, random writers speaking on determined topics, making sense and not breaking the mathematical picture. No other book on earth can boast such a miracle.

The moral tone of the book is beyond anything anywhere else on earth (Luke 6:20-38 for ex.). No other religious book begins to match the moral standards found in the Bible. Other religions teach self-improvement and mastery, at best, but the Bible shows us outright, we can't do it. It's brutally honest, but it gives the answer no other religious book can. It even surpasses in how far it reaches to help. All the other religious books can lead to good behavior, but none can offer hope to the mass murderer. The Bible, not only lifting the standards highest, reaches with help to the lowest. In the Bible, the mass murderer can find hope and deliverance.

The scientific stand of the book holds up. The other religious books make blunders that become obvious with the years, but the Bible has never been shown to be scientifically inaccurate. It even told about certain star groups expanding or contracting, as we know they do today (Job 38:31). It told us the world was round (Isaiah 40:22). Even over the past century, it was attacked again and again scientifically, yet the challenges were brought into disrepute as the alleged scientific assumption was disproved.

Archaeology proves it. The archeological evidence is astounding, and yet books such as the book of Mormon can't show us one of its alleged cities, old coins, or even the "golden plates" it claims to have come from. They say they had these less than 200 years ago.

As powerful an evidence as the Bible is, there's also the internal proof in people. The Bible tells us that any who are His have His Holy Spirit in them bearing witness to the truth (Ephesians 1:13,14,17; 4:30; 1 John 3:9,24; 4:4,13-15; 5:10). Of course, those outside can't know such witness, but those who have tasted it can't doubt it.

Changed lives testify of the truth. Worldwide, down through history, we see that people who met Christ were forever changed. Not just reformed, but changed. People who couldn't let go of the bottle or drugs, immediately set free. People with gutter mouths, suddenly no longer use profanity, even when they find themselves in sudden pain, like hitting their thumb with a hammer. Other religions don't bring these kinds of changes. People who are known for their bad tempers, are suddenly people at peace in the midst of their newfound ridiculers and mockers. People who were afraid of death, are suddenly bold for Christ. They die for Him singing praises with their last breath. I've seen disciplined, stubborn people face fears and the like for their causes, but never transformations out of character, addictions, etc. into peaceful Christian victory (1 John 5:4,5). Other religions just don't have this powerful witness.

For those who want to research along the lines of the defense of Christianity, the science is known as "apologetics". There's some good material, and I would recommend you do some digging. Peter called for us to be ready to give a defense of our faith to whoever inquires (1 Peter 3:14-16).

Three books I would recommend are Theomatics by Jerry Lucas and Del Washburn; Alleged Discrepancies by John W. Haley; and Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell.

IV. The Plan

Because of man's corrupt heart, none truly seeks God on his own (Romans 3:10-12). It takes the prodding of the Holy Spirit.

God had a plan. All mankind was lost, not caring for Him, so God determined a way to work His plan. He wanted to establish a kingdom of men for God (Mark 1:14,15). He wants mankind to love and serve Him with a free will (1 John 2:4). That's what the "kingdom of God" refers to - a nation of people subject to a King. Man fell and was no longer obedient to the King, nor could be (Romans ch. 7). God knew the only way to restore the original goal was through Christ (Ephesians 3:9-11, 21; 4:13-16). For Christ, the Father had to prepare a people through whom He would come into the world. God chose Abraham. He was an idolater, but God saw he had a heart that really did want the true God. Since mankind, as a whole, had rejected God, He started His recovery through a man with the right heart. Through him, God chose to raise up the beacon for the world, that would be so great the rest of the world could not help but see God's banner on earth (2 Chronicles ch. 6; Matthew 5:14). He worked at creating that nation to be a reflection that mankind couldn't deny. Since man still retained his freewill, he was able to demolish God's desired goal. The pattern of God's ultimate goal still remained upon the nation of Israel, so the ultimate answer, when it came, couldn't honestly be denied. Enter, the Messiah (Galatians 4:1-7).

Christ followed the prophecies with supernatural accuracy testifying to the world He's the revealed one, not just a discoverer. Jesus didn't teach what He discovered about God. He revealed to us what was revealed to Him:

50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. John 12:50

V. Two Heart Types

The eyes must be opened to see, not just understand, but see. That's revelation.

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:17,18

Seeing is only for the open heart. This is why people often come to Christianity just as they do any other religion. They become "Christians" in religion and maybe later become Mormons, or stay as "Christians". They never came to Christ through revelation. They understood the basic doctrines, mentally acknowledged them, and tried a degree of conformation. They fell short in their ability to receive God's view of themselves. His view of not only their bad side, but also their good side (Isaiah 64:6). Maybe they were unable to accept the harshness with which God must deal with sinners. When the hearts unable to accept the truth of our state, and what we truly deserve, then sight and revelation can't come (John 9:35-41). The pseudo-Christian may accept the reality of hell intellectually, but not fully, deep inside. Being able to see the need for it, not just for Hitlers, but for Joe Blow average on the street.

There was a passage I had trouble understanding. Jesus begins teaching in parables. He gave His reason as being:

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Matthew 13:13-15

Why wouldn't He want them to see and hear? The answers in what God requires before He grants revelation. The parables began after they had shown their hardened heart in rejecting Him. They were cut off thereafter. The truths of God, His revelations, are precious pearls (Matthew 13:45,46). God's pearls aren't cast before the hardened heart (Matthew 7:6). From the hardened heart, such revelations are hidden. They couldn't help but have opportunity to hear and see Him, but they were denied understanding. The religious Pharisees rejected revelation.

In Exodus, we have another amazing example of the hard heart. The Pharaoh of Egypt rejected the revelations of God again and again. We're told:

12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses. Exodus 9:12

This doesn't mean God refused to let Pharaoh change. God hardened his heart like the sun hardens clay. If Pharaoh had a heart of wax, it would have melted before the light of the Son. The hardness was because of the kind of heart Pharaoh had. The heart that's clay to the core has no hope. It'll never melt. The reason God continued to reveal Himself before Pharaoh, was so God's glory would be manifest on earth in the revelations of judgment. God put that Pharaoh on the throne for that purpose:

16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. Exodus 9:16 (Exodus 4:21; 6:3,4)

When there isn't a greater purpose, such as the Exodus, God ceases casting His pearls before swine. He denies them this honor of His revelation. They don't really want it, and they won't receive it.
This brings us down to a critical, honest evaluation. Look inside. How do you know you have that heart of wax and not clay? It'll reveal itself, if you're willing to accept the evidence. If there's any wax to be found, God can transform the remaining clay into wax. He changed the water into wine, didn't He? (John 2:1-11).

God can't be discovered by discovery, no man's pure enough of heart to face the light. We recoil from the light of His holiness (John 3:19-20; Ephesians 5:13,14). The heart of humilitys the only one that can find Him. It's that heart which says, "Yes God, You're right and I'm fundamentally wrong. I don't hide what I am. I don't hold out hope I can eventually 'become'. I give up and acknowledge what you're like and turn myself over. Deal with me as You deem necessary. Here's this hopeless wreck. It's Yours." (Psalms 37:11; Matthew 5:5). This is the heart that comes to God's revelation. When He finds this heart, He reveals. Most of mankind can't accept this evaluation, so gladly accept the philosophies and religions that speak of mastering oneself, and self-improvement (Colossians 2:3-8).
In these systems, the light that reveals the true, total wreck is never shone. The dishonest heart appreciates this, and is satisfied with the truth substitute.

Jesus Is The Way!

A good way to bring this to a conclusion, is in Jesus' words:

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Put simply, He doesn't show us anything, as a discoverer would teach his students. He's the Revelation Himself. How different to the other religions, religious founders and philosophies. Note the signature of exclusiveness, once again tied into the ONLY WAY. Revelation's narrow and offensive to the world systems.

The religious leaders, of Jesus' day, wanted to remodel God's revelations to their discoveries. That's why they found Jesus offensive. Jesus doesn't tolerate that. If you want the truth, you'll become offensive (1 John 3:13). If you can't accept that, you must cast out the Revelation.

Now's the time to decide.

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Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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