All quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
We have a choice. To follow our own understanding and knowledge or to abandon this normal way of deciding our course in favour of being open to being led by the revelation of the Spirit of God.
Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.
This is prophecy of the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed King who was to come. He would be the Light of the world, revealing God’s grace and truth to a world of darkness.
Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The new covenant would replace laws written on tablets of stone and taught by man to man with the revelation of God’s perfect law written by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of the people of God. The new covenant is a covenant of revelation from within rather than education from without.
Daniel 2:27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: Daniel 2:47 The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”
There is no limit to what God can or will reveal to His servants.
Joel 2:28 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.
This is the fulfilment of the promised new covenant of Jeremiah 31:33 fulfilled on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts chapter 2. Peter stood up along with the others of the 120 disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and being baptised with the Holy Spirit they shared that which was revealed to them by the Spirit. That is they spoke as the Spirit gave them to speak – revelation from the revealer of mysteries.
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Education, intelligence and wisdom are not necessary in order to enter the kingdom of God. Possessing information on a particular subject can sometimes be an obstacle to receiving differing information on that subject. To receive God’s revelation on all things pertaining to Him we must let go our own ‘wisdom’ from all other sources.
Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Revelation from God is not just a desirable addition to the understanding we may obtain from other natural and human sources. Revelation from the Spirit of truth is the only means of seeing and hearing the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Men may guess at the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. They might write or read many books about Him. Only revelation from heaven can reveal His true greatness and being. Then we fall down at His feet and worship Him, in spirit and in truth. The men who Jesus was referring to here had differing opinions. Those who thought that Jesus was John the Baptist returned from the dead were plainly foolish, as Jesus had been baptised by John. Those who said Jesus may be actually Elijah referred to as returning in the prophets had a more sensible and scripturally based view. Those saying that Jesus was Jeremiah or one of the prophets were just being uncontroversial and vague. Revelation is never vague or farfetched, it is always absolute truth. Revelation is exclusively to be shared with those for whom it is intended. Peter who received this revelation from God also shortly received mis-information from Satan which he felt compelled to force upon Jesus. The source of a thing revealed is its validation. If it is from heaven, it is true. If it is from men or Satan himself it is not true. This is the battlefield we enter into when we enter the kingdom of God.
Luke 2:25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
The Bible is a collection of books recording revelations from God; God revealing things to come by His Holy Spirit. Not everything revealed to all individuals is recorded.
John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
Our salvation from beginning to end is based in revelation given by God, never by learning facts from men. Even when God uses men to declare the message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus the Christ it is God’s Spirit that draws us and grants us repentance to life.
John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Things were only going to get better when the Christ ascended to the heavens and poured out the Holy Spirit on all flesh. Not just 12, not just 120, but as many as the Lord our God should call.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
Jesus deliberately chose illiterate and un-educated men to be those He would send out with His message. They were not stupid men but they knew they had to depend on the Spirit of Christ, Who is the Mind of Christ, to give them the things they should say and do. The kingdom of God is nothing like a religious movement that depends on training – even brainwashing – workers so they stick to the official script.
Acts 10:9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. “Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Here was Peter, a young man, being given a vision with the interpretation of it just as prophesied by Joel. It was not just instructions for this particular event of going in to fellowship with non-Jews but revealing an eternal truth. You would think that he would never forget this lesson. But he did; as we will shortly see in Galatians chapter 2.
Acts 18:24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed (kataxismo = by ear =orally) in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Hearing the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ from men is good but it is not for private interpretation. Jesus has given the revelation of the good news to His assembly of His disciples (those who are taught by Him directly) so it can be shared in the power of the Holy Spirit, not just scripture.
Acts 22:3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished. Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ “So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’
As is so often the case, the Lord Jesus gets the attention of someone directly by revelation then sends a human being to give further instructions.
Acts 26:15 “So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.
Having started in the Spirit with revelation from God, Paul continued by revelation from God to the end that others might enter into a life of eyes opened to the light of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
If we judge according to our own wisdom or experience we may very well come to false conclusions and assumptions. If we wait for the Lord Jesus to reveal a matter to us by His Spirit then we will know the truth of the matter.
1 Corinthians 14:6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?
Even when God uses dreams, visions or foreign languages to communicate truth to us He always will make the meaning clear by His Spirit. He is not a God of vagueness but of clarity.
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let (some) one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
Here we have the interrupt rule. As all ministry – service – in the gathering of disciples of the Lord Jesus is dependant on the Lord Who is present; He can interrupt at His will, using whoever He chooses. This is true liberty rather than conformity. This would not be practical in an orchestrated theatre or lecture type event but amongst disciples of Jesus gathered in His name under His headship house to house this is normality. By this means all can prophesy, even if it means interrupting someone in a polite manner and sharing that which is revealed to them at that moment by the Lord Who is the Spirit. After such an interruption of course the one interrupted can resume if so led by the Spirit. By this means only the Lord Himself gets the praise and the glory. This is normal assembling together of those who are following, being taught by the Lord Jesus the Christ by His indwelling Spirit. Amongst god-fearing folks who have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit these things may not turn out well but would just be men and women behaving as they thought best.
Galatians 1:11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like Paul we will not learn the true message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus the Christ from men. Bible schools will only indoctrinate with their own particular brand of adulterated ‘good news’. Whatever the sponsoring denomination decrees as the true gospel will be disseminated there. For this reason there are as many adulterated versions of the ‘gospel’ as there are denominations. Those whom Jesus sends He equips with the message of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus the Christ directly by revelation. Why has the message changed from the days of the book of Acts? Because of the lack of revelation by Jesus Christ. But just as on the day of Pentecost the true message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus the Christ was given by revelation through the Holy Spirit to Peter and the other 119 disciples; in the same way whenever the Holy Spirit has at various times been poured out the message that is by revelation of Jesus Christ is again revealed. In 1904 the Holy Spirit fell on many in Wales. Most folks who spoke in other tongues were very happy with their ecstatic experience but did not repent and stuck to their denominations, traditions and ‘gospel’ previously received from men. A few repented and asked God to show them ‘what they must do’. These were given the same gospel as Peter and Paul by revelation and so they preached repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins with the promise of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. The same thing happened in Azusa St, Los Angeles in 1906 and in Ethiopia in 1971. I am sure there will be other occurrences that I do not know of. We do know however that it is not by might, nor by power, but by God’s Spirit that God accomplishes His purposes on earth.
Galatians 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favouritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
Here Paul checks out that the message he received by revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ was the same as that given to Peter and the other apostles. Naturally, being from the same source – the Lord Jesus Christ by revelation – they were exactly the same. At this time men were attempting to change the message by adding rules and regulations. Satan will always be attempting to adulterate the simple message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. He does this by adding rubbish to it. Like when someone selling wine adds water to make more profit but ruins it in the process. Men seem to get very attached to the things they have added to the gospel.
Galatians 2:11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
So here we have Peter, an apostle; who had received revelation through a vision in Joppa; that he should not call any man unclean whom God should declare clean; that he should go and enter the house of gentiles who as yet had not even heard the good news; going directly against this revelation and withdrawing from the gentile disciples of the Lord Jesus! From this episode we can learn that revelation from God is fragile compared to the influence of men. These guys from James could point to the law of Moses (scriptures) and show that it was unlawful for Jews to eat with gentiles. Thank God for Paul standing up for the good news that was by the revelation from Jesus Christ rather than the law which would condemn both Jews and gentiles. Many who received the message of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ by the Spirit in Wales 1904 and Azusa St 1906 eventually were persuaded by men of reputation to change their gospel. This passage of scripture is a clear warning to guard that which is given by revelation no matter what it does to our reputations among men.
Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
Paul was educated thoroughly by the most regarded teacher of the law in his day. Equivalent to the best Bible College you can think of. But he counted this as vile rubbish compared to the excellence of knowing Jesus Christ – whom we know by revelation only. This bible scholar became as a child so that he might enter the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the Spirit.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
They used to speak of ‘darkest Africa’ meaning a land without western education and influences. In God’s sight all humanity is in gross darkness until the light of Christ dawns in our hearts.
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In the light of Christ those who have received the gift of the Spirit may expect be able to prophecy – speak as the oracles of God through the revelation Christ will give for the edification of the assembly.
1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus Christ He is present in the midst. He communicates by revelation, shedding His light through the Holy Spirit in each one gathered.
We have a choice – to follow our own understanding, follow to the opinions of men, or learn to be led by the Spirit of God. Jesus said ‘my sheep hear my voice, and another they will not follow.’
To discuss this or any other matter regarding the good news of Jesus Christ please email;
Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England.
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