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Lesson 2: Revelation and the God Revealed in It *

Introduction: Last week we learned about the war that is going on between good and evil, between God and Satan. Christians are aligned with God in this controversy. He is our Commander. Have you ever heard of a commander who made no commands? If God is actively prosecuting a war against Satan, is it necessary or helpful to communicate with the troops? Surely the answer must be "yes." How, then, does God communicate? Is it through the Bible? The Koran? The teachings of Buddhism or those of Hinduism? Could it be "all of the above?" Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about God and revelation!

  1. Nature


    1. Read Psalms 19:1-2. This morning I read an article about how the Hubble telescope recently revealed more of the universe. What is being communicated to humans when we look into space? (That the power and knowledge of God is beyond comprehension. That God believes in rules and order. The stars and planets are not randomly crashing into each other. The universe is expanding at just the correct speed so that it does not collapse or blow apart.)


      1. Evolution depends on chance and natural selection. What does the universe teach us about chance? (It seems impossible that the order of the universe is the result of chance.)


      2. What does this say to us about our daily life? (It suggests a life of order. It suggests that chance is a small factor in life.)


      3. What does God's universe teach us about His knowledge of our life? (If God can keep track of all of the things in the sky, then He seems to be able to keep track of us. However, the things in the sky seem to have "automatic" guidance. This suggests that God may have "automatic" rules for my life. That if I do certain things, other results naturally follow.)


    2. Read Hebrews 1:1-3. Let's focus first on verses 2 & 3 right. Who spoke the universe into existence? (Jesus.)


      1. How does Jesus sustain His creation? I just mentioned "automatic" rules. What does this suggest? (It tells us that Jesus' "powerful word" sustains everything. This leaves out a lot of detail, but it suggests that "automatic" does not mean a lack of personal, constant involvement.)


      2. Read Luke 12:6-7. What does Jesus say about His level of involvement in our lives?


    3. Look again at Hebrews 1:1. How many of the world religions endorse this statement? (Judaism, Islam and Christianity all accept the Old Testament as inspired by God.)


      1. If we agree that the Old Testament prophets spoke for God, how would you prove that Hebrews 1:2 is also a communication from God? (The answer focuses on the Old Testament's response to sin - the substitutionary death of the lamb (or other animal). This is grace, not works. Christianity alone embraces grace today and explains the sanctuary service as a prediction of Jesus. Judaism no longer practices animal sacrifice. It is a works religion, as is Islam and every Eastern religion.)


      2. What do the heavens teach us about God's true revelation? (Look again at Hebrews 1:3. I believe the heavens are an argument for monotheism. The majesty and order of the heavens speak of a single power, not multiple competing powers. This text supports that idea by saying that Jesus' sustaining power in the heavens "is the radiance" of God's glory. It reflects the nature of God.)


  2. Prophets


    1. Look again at Hebrews 1:1-3. How has our Commander communicated to us in the past? (Through prophets.)


      1. Are prophets a thing of the past? The text tells us that "in these last days" God speaks to us through His Son, in place of prophets. Does this mean prophets are now excluded?


    2. Read 2 Peter 1:16-18. How did God speak to His people through Jesus? (Jesus' followers not only observed His actions, but in this case they heard the voice of God the Father.)


    3. Read 2 Peter 1:19. How did the coming of Jesus impact the messages of the prophets? (They are an additional source of communication from God to which we should "pay attention.")


    4. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. How did prophets receive their communications from God? (The Holy Spirit inspired them.)


    5. Read John 15:26 and John 16:7-15. Who is this "Counselor?" (The Holy Spirit.)


      1. Recall that I earlier asked you if prophets are a "thing of the past?" Peter says that Jesus is the "last day" source of information from God, and he seems to suggest that prophets are not. How does John clarify this? (The Godhead is always the source of God's communications to humans. Jesus tells us that He still communicates to us through the Holy Spirit even after He returned to heaven.)


      2. Does the Holy Spirit act differently in the last days? Specifically, what does Jesus mean in John 16:13 when He says the Holy Spirit will "guide you into all truth?" Is this a reference to the disciples, or is Jesus speaking about all Christians?


    6. Read Joel 2:28-29. What does this tell us about the nature of the prophecy after Jesus returned to heaven? (It has changed. Instead of speaking through a few prophets, particularly those whose writings became part of the Bible ( 2 Peter 1:20), Jesus speaks directly to a very large number of His followers through the Holy Spirit.)


      1. Why? (Read Mark 15:38-39, Hebrews 4:16 and 1 Peter 2:9. After Jesus' victory over sin, our relationship with God fundamentally changed. Instead of having human intermediaries, we can boldly and directly approach Jesus.)


    7. Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 and 1 Corinthians 14:1. Does everyone have the gift of prophecy now? (No. The gift is supposed to be widespread, but it is not universal.)


    8. If you agree with the conclusions that we have reached so far, this means that God speaks to us today through the Holy Spirit. He speaks to a broad base of individuals. Is that good or bad? Worrisome or faith building?


      1. What if you are concerned that someone claiming to be a prophet has deliberately or accidentally gotten God's message wrong? (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 and 1 John 4:1-3. We have to test what prophets say that they received from God.)


        1. What kind of test should we use? (1 John 4 gives a general test, that if a prophet acknowledges God, that person has the Spirit of God. Since we now have an extraordinary amount of revelation from God, I would also test new statements by past revelation.)


  3. Faith


    1. So far, I've been arguing for a logical interpretation of the messages that come to us from the heavens and the Bible. Read Hebrews 11:1-3. Is our understanding of God's message in the heavens a matter of mere logic and observation? (Hebrews says it involves faith.)


    2. Read Hebrews 11:4. Is our understanding of the message about Jesus contained in the sanctuary system of the Old Testament a matter of mere logic? (This suggests it also involves faith.)


    3. Read Hebrews 11:5-6. What role does faith play in the belief in the existence of God? (Without faith it is impossible to believe. I think that the evidence for God is overwhelming. Logically, the signs point to Jesus as God. But, we must not become so arrogant with logic that we neglect the importance of simple faith.)


    4. Friend, do you believe that God wants to communicate with you? Are you open to God's messages today, are you looking for His Holy Spirit? If not, why not pray today for the Holy Spirit to increase your understanding of God's will for your life?


  4. Next week: Mankind: God's Handiwork.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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