THE NATURE OF REVELATION
The Difference between Conceptual & Verbal-Plenary Revelation
A few days ago I was attending a meeting in Oslo arranged by a local Pentecostal Church. Present was a well-known
evangelist, the Messianic Jew, Dick Reuben, from Pensacola Assemby of God, Florida, who was preaching on revival.
The sermon, which was on sin, repentance, obeying the commandments and the restoration of backsliding Christians,
was excellent, and could almost have been delivered by a New Covenant minister. As the meeting progressed, he
whipped up considerable enthusiasm, and began to claim that he was receiving revelation, or "a word of God" for
those present. He prophesied an enormous revival in Norway and claimed that his week of revivalist preaching was
setting off the spark that was needed. Indeed, he likened his work to a refiner of gold gradually increasing the
cleansing temperature so that the dross could be scooped off. Each evening, he said, people were getting more and
more sanctified so that by the end of the week (at a meeting I attended) he claimed that people were really entering
a blessed state of sanctification.
My suspicions began to be aroused because I was not aware of any particular spirit present, even though fantastic
claims were being made that it was strong and that he indeed was before the throne of God. I discerned that something
was wrong. Then he began a manipulative technique that I have seen used by cults that greatly alarmed me when he
started making altar calls. His premis was that since we were all sinners, it was time that we quitted our sins (OK), and
that evening was the moment of decision (OK -- maybe). He then started calling people to the front from the
main meeting room and the gallery where I was (OK). Many came. But he wanted everyone there. A barrage
of threats of hell were made, with illustrations of people who had suddenly died like a young girl buried that day, of
a woman he had been called to minister to who had cancer, of a parishoner who dropped down dead in one of his
meetings. Did we want to risk going to hell when we could confess our sin there and then and respond to the altar
call (uh oh...). A few more came but not all. He becam irritated and called on all those of us who were left to turn to
our neighbour and ask him if he was in sin. If the answer was "yes" (and of course it was "yes" for everyone, the Bible says,
is a sinner, and a liar if he says he is not) then we were instructed to take the respondant by
the hand and lead him to the altar (talk of compulsion!). Still others remained (about 75% had by now
responded). He then began to make threats, saying that he would personally point out all those who were
not responding to the altar call and ask them why they weren't responding, saying: "It's not for nothing that I'm
called Red Dick" (because of his agressive missionary technique).
Well, a man came up to me and shook my hand -- I could see the Spirit of God in his eyes, but he did not ask me
Reuben's question. I think we both understood that what this preacher was doing was WRONG because
he was denying free agency.
What went wrong? Why did a Spirit-directed sermon suddenly end up in what I can only describe as demonic
compulsion? I listened attentively and noticed the point where the Spirit departed and where the flesh took over.
I doubt many (if any others) noticed it. As the first of the altar callees came up, he said, to the effect, that God
was driving the spirit of PRIDE out of the people present. Now I have been a minister in Norway for nearly a
decade and if there is one thing I know it is that there is alot of pride in the churches. As I milled around
after the meeting I had confirmed what I already knew -- THE PEOPLE HAD NOT CHANGED. This was no revival --
it was a PLASTIC IMITATION.
I had a friend with me, an Indian Pentecostal, who wanted to talk with those
present but I could see how they were LOOKING DOWN ON HIM as in some way an inferior. They tried to avoid
him as though he had a plague because of the colour of his skin. Yes, Norway is an intensely racist
country, and Christians here are little different from the surrounding Babylonian culture. I saw before me complete
and utter HYPOCRISY. No doubt a few people present were brought to sincere repentance -- I cannot judge
individuals -- but it was very plain for me to see that this was NO CHURCH REVIVAL.
I am sure that Dick Reuben came with the noblest of intentions -- He desired with all his heart for an awakening of
God's people. He related in the meeting how he wished to convert a million souls before he died. So what went
wrong? Why did the meeting degenerate into an emotional, soulish, entertainment show? And why is this so common
in the churches?
The main problem is that somewhere along the line Christians make ENORMOUS ASSUMPTIONS about the Holy
Spirit. They assume that when the Holy Spirit comes that it comes 100%, and that when they are speaking (as they
suppose) under the influence of the Spirit, what they are saying is 100% God's word. This is a very dangerous
theological error that can lead to many delusions and false prophecies which are rarely corrected because of the
reputation of the "prophets" themselves. I have heard so many false prophecies by internationally renowned
evangelists and super-preachers that I take them all with a pinch of salt these days.
The Spirit of Revelation
We, as New Covenant Christians, have learned over the years much about the spirit of revelation, and perhaps one
of the spiritual keys we have been blessed with is the understanding that revelation is as pure as the person who is speaking it. That
purity will be determined by a number of factors: (1) His thinking processes (theology/doctrine); (2) His feelings; and
(3) His nearness to the Holy Spirit (sanctification). And though a word of God may fall upon a sinful man briefly
and be conveyed in nearly 100% purity by a supreme act of grace on the part of God, this is not usually the case.
Rather, He permits those who name His Name to grow in the prophetic office degree by degree so that instead of
being "taken over", as it were, by the Spirit and acting as mere channels (pardon the New Age term), they become
gradually transformed within (akin to sanctification) so that what they speak is always the word of God.
Without exception, all of us begin as babes in the faith after our first salvation event (born again experience) and
grow gradually in knowledge, pure feelings and spiritual sanctification. Though devils may have been cast out
of our lives, there is still the old Adam Nature ("flesh", "soulish nature") to deal with. It's there all our lives and but
either be subordinated through spiritual discipline, or allowed to control us (partially or wholly). Thus a man or
woman growing up in the prophetic gift will experience what we call "muddy revelation", that is, the word of God
distorted by the fallen Adam-nature. The diagram below illustrates the concept:
You will see how our false belief (theology, for example) acts as a distorting influence on the pure Spirit of God.
Wrong motives, a troubled soul, or simply immaturity, may also add to this distoration, to that the final product,
whether written or spoken (or both) is a "muddy revelation". Needless to say such revelation can be very
dangerous because it can create in the mind of the one who accepts it a false sense of security in all of
it because of the truthfulness of the parts of it that have touched his heart, as the Spirit will indeed do.
As the young prophet matures, his theology becoming more alligned to the Bible as a whole, his thinking and feeling refined
and purified, so revelation and prophecy will pass through the human lense increasingly unhindered by the
Adam-nature. Time and experience are needed to do this. And thus, with greater prophetic clarity, he may correct
any tainted or "muddy" revelations he may have had in the past, as Fig.2 below illustrates:
I know that many Christians are uncomfortable with this kind of "process prophecy", if I may coin this term. It is
for this reason that God usually calls His prophets from amongst the older and more mature.
In saying these things we must not confuse this "conceptual revelation" with what is called "verbal plenary
revelation". The latter kind, which is rare, implies that every word is literally dictated by God and is therefore
100% perfect. This kind of revelation is only possible if you have a pure language -- and whilst one may obtain
90-95% purity in a modern language like English, for example, you will never get 100% purity.
Recent research on the Bible codes has demonstrated that the Torah portion of the Bible, at least, is more than a
narrative -- it is a computer code that contains the entire history of the earth, from beginning to end, in minute
detail. Remove a single letter from it and the whole code falls apart. This is verbal, plenary revelation, but also
much more, because the revelation of God lies not just in the words and sentences but in each individual
(Hebrew) letter. The Torah (the first five books of Moses -- and computer studies may well extend the same
to the rest of the Bible books) may therefore be said to be letter-perfect. The Torah was not in any way
conceptual revelation -- it is not as though God planted 'concepts' in the prophet's head and he translated them as
best he could with his finite mind -- no, each letter was dictated to create a computer program so complicated that
not even the most powerful Crays can decipher it completely. It is for this reason that copyiest have always added
up every single word and letter throughout history to ensure an accurate text.
You will search in vain in the writings of men for a similar code -- whether the works of Dostoyevsky, the Book of
Mormon, the Koran, or even the modern bibles created from minority manuscripts (those which became corrupted
by heretics and others). It is for this reason that the Bible revelation must stand above all other types of revelation --
and that includes our New Covenant revelations like the Olive Branch which are largely (99.9%) conceptual.
Now in that meeting in Oslo I heard a sincere but immature prophet speak sometimes in God's Spirit and sometimes
in his own. He prophesied at the beginning of a meeting that a young lady would become a famous evangelist -- I
do not know if that is true, but I am sceptical. And I am sceptical because I have seen how "prophets" from that
denomination have made fantastic promises to ungifted persons who have become conceited and lifted in their
pride as a result of such pronouncements. Men like Dick Reuben must beware else they could so easy fall into
the category as a completely false prophet. This is not a gift to play with because the words that a prophet utters
deeply affect the lives of people who trust in them. And we have seen, have we not, the fruits of such trust in
the destroyed lives of the believers in Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Ellen G. White, Mary Baker Eddy, legions of
New Age gurus (like Elizabeth Claire Prophet), Kenneth Hagin, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, Rajneesh, etc..
Prophecy and revelation is like nuclear power -- wrongly used, it can destroy; rightly used it can bring fantastic
blessings. May you learn to discern the spirits (Heb.4:12; Exek.44:23).
This page was created on 25 January 1998
Last updated on 23 February 1998
Copyright © 1987-2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved