What the Bible says about Revelation as Disclosure
(From Forerunner Commentary)
Combinging this scripture together with Deuteronomy 29:29—and with an example Daniel 12 when God tells the prophet that the meaning was sealed until the time of the end—we can see that He is clearly telling us He promises to reveal the understanding of prophecy on a "need-to-know" basis. When we need to know, He will tell us. That is His promise. So until that time arrives, precise understanding will be impossible. Therefore, anyone's interpretation of prophecy has to be understood as theory until the evidence arises that it is a true interpretation.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)Related Topics: "Need-to-Know" Basis | Prophecy, Interpretation of | Prophet | Prophet as Message Carrier | Prophet, Function of | Prophetic Knowledge | Prophetic Understanding | Revealed Knowledge | Revelation | Revelation as Disclosure | Revelation as Unveiling | Secret Knowledge | Secret Knowledge Revealed to Prophets | Secret Things Belong to God
He is not out to trick us or to trip us up. Our beloved friend and elder brother Jesus Christ echoes this to His disciples: "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).
We can have confidence in God's promise that He will not do anything significant concerning His people without informing us first in a clear, orderly, and understandable manner. If and when He chooses to send a special end-time leader to His people—whether he be a prophet, an apostle, or one of the two witnesses (Revelation 11)—God will make sure we are able to recognize the man as His true servant.
The ProphetRelated Topics: "Need-to-Know" Basis | Prophecy, Interpretation of | Prophet | Prophet as Message Carrier | Prophet, Function of | Prophetic Knowledge | Prophetic Understanding | Revealed Knowledge | Revelation as Disclosure | Revelation as Unveiling | Revelation, Private | Secret Knowledge | Secret Knowledge Revealed to Prophets | Secret Things Belong to God | Two Witnesses
This verse reveals a divine principle or a pattern. God does not give every detail, but His pattern of behavior is to let His people know (at least in generalities) what He is going to do. He gives enough information, but not so much that we do not have to live by faith.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)
How plain! What we have in the gospel is a revelation. We must tie this concept of God's revelation to the word "mystery" (verse 7).
In English it does not mean exactly the same thing as in Greek. In English, mystery means "a puzzle that is difficult to solve," but in Greek, it means "a secret that is impossible to penetrate." So, the Word of God, His purpose and plan, is a mystery, a secret that is impossible to penetrate. Paul is implying that man would never find out what God intends, except that God gives it to us by revelation.
We have in no way earned this revelation. We have it because it pleased God to give it to us. He withholds it from others, but He has given it to us. He is in no way beholden to us, as if He owed us something. We could dig in His Word over our entire lifetimes and never come to what He freely gives to us for His purposes, for His own reasons.
Brilliant men like Adam Clarke have dug into God's Word through the centuries. It took him forty years to produce his famous commentary. Considering that the man was unconverted, it really is a magnificent work, done with all sincerity and dedication. Yet, at the end of his efforts, he did not fully penetrate the mystery of what God is doing among men. A brilliant man and a brilliant work, yet he emerged from his studies not understanding the divine purpose that God gives to us without our earning it. On the other hand, it is very likely that many of us never cracked the pages of a Bible before God began to open our minds. Some have, some have not. But God called many of us in that situation, and though we did not deserve it, He revealed His way to us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon GraceRelated Topics: Conundrum | Enigma | God's Master Plan | God's Plan | God's Purpose | Gospel | Mystery | Mystery, Ability to Comprehend | Mystical Knowledge | Puzzle Analogy | Revealed Knowledge | Revelation | Revelation as Disclosure | Revelation as Unveiling | Revelation, Private | Secret | Secret Knowledge
There are experiences, ideas, and feelings in each of us that are so personal, private, and intimate that nobody knows them except we ourselves. And nobody can know these feelings unless we decide to reveal them.
In like manner, only God can tell us about Himself, which is why no man could ever find that knowledge on his own. God has to tell us who He is and what He is like. Does not Jesus say in 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"? Paul confirms Jesus' statement. Unless God chooses to make Himself known, we—no one—will never find out about His true nature.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace
These verses link the unveiling of Jesus Christ with our future and all that the Father is working out. Verse 3 recalls to us our status as children of God, reminding us that our hope lies in the resurrection from the dead, when we will be composed of spirit, able to inherit the Kingdom (see I Corinthians 15:50). God Himself safeguards this perfect inheritance, which can never be diminished, for all those who are regenerated and endure to the end.
Verse 5 reminds us that our salvation will be revealed "in the last time." This gives us reason for great rejoicing, even though various trials may grieve us. Those trials are necessary, Peter tells us in verse 7, so that the genuineness of our faith—the tried and proven character of our faith—may be found when Jesus Christ is unveiled to the entire world (cf. Luke 18:8).
Verse 8 points out the contrast that, at this time, we do not see Him with our eyes because He is still veiled, hidden from the world. His revelation has not yet occurred. Even though we cannot see Him now, we still love Him and can still rejoice because we know that the Father will soon send Him back to this earth. Then, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7).
Verse 13 summarizes what we should be doing as a result of this understanding. We need to brace ourselves mentally, and think, plan, and act seriously and circumspectly, setting our hope wholly on the divine favor that the revelation of Jesus Christ will bring to us. For concurrent with the apocalypsis of Christ is the salvation of the saints, both living and dead.
David C. Grabbe
What Is the Book of Revelation?Related Topics: Apocalypsis | Apokalypsis | Faith, Trying of | Heirs According to the Promise | Heirs with Christ | Inheritance | Inheritance of the Christian | Inheriting the Earth | Last Days | Rejoicing | Rejoicing in Trials | Resurrection | Resurrection to Immortal Life | Revelation | Revelation as Disclosure | Revelation as Unveiling | Reward of the Saved | Trials | Trials, Purpose of | Trials, Rejoicing in | Trials, Shaping Power Of
Verse 1 opens the book with the words, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." This is the book's real title, not what the Greeks titled it, Apokalypsis Ioannou?"The Revelation of John." In a sense, the apostle John is merely a witness or observer of the visions and sayings that we find within these twenty-two chapters, one who faithfully wrote them down for the instruction, preparation, and edification of the church (verse 2).
Apokalypsis means "unveiling," "disclosure," or "revelation," which is just the opposite of what most people suppose it means. The book is not intended to be a collection of arcane prophecies, mysteries, symbols, and warnings, but an uncovering of knowledge about "things which must shortly take place." As verse 1 maintains, the Father gave the contents of Revelation to Jesus Christ, who as Head of the church passed them on to His disciples through John, so that they would have all the facts that God allowed about the imminent future. God does not desire the book of Revelation to be a frustrating, impenetrable enigma, but as a gift of His grace, a sharing of privileged information.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The All-Important Introduction to Revelation