Friday, August 17, 2007

Reason and Revelation: Revelation (Part 1)

In chemistry, a catalyst is a compound that assists in a chemical reaction. For example, in the chemical reaction pictured here, ethene is converted to ethanol using steam in the presence of phosphoric acid. In this chemical reaction, phosphoric acid is a catalyst. Apart from the presence of phosphoric acid, ethene is stable, but when phosphoric acid is present, it triggers the chemical reaction to produce ethanol. A catalyst triggers a transformation of a substance from one form to another. I believe that, in the same way, revelation is a catalyst. Revelation triggers a transformation of our current knowledge, understanding, and beliefs to something new. Revelation is the trigger to bring us to a new understanding, new knowledge, and possibly even new beliefs. Without revelation, we simply will not grow in our knowledge, especially in our knowledge of God. We can reason all we want within the context of our current knowledge and understanding, but without revelation, we will never arrive at new knowledge.

While some knowledge is easily obtained by simple study of the world around us, other knowledge has been hidden by God. God has hidden knowledge that is only discerned by revelation. Consider what Jesus said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight." (Luke 10:21) Learning takes more than our own personal efforts and reasonings, we are dependent on the catalyst of revelation to transform what we know into new knowledge. No one, no matter how smart or wise they are, can learn apart from revelation. Consider this scene from the Book of Revelation,
"I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?'" (Revelation 5:1-2)
John saw a book that contained the knowledge of what was to be and to happen in the end times. This knowledge was sealed up and hidden from knowing. An angel makes a proclamation asking who was worthy to open the book and to bring forth the revelation of future things.
"And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it." (Revelation 5:3-4)
In all of heaven and earth, no one was found who was able to open the book and to look inside it. The book was a closed revelation, it contained knowledge that could not be known or discovered, unless someone could open its seals. John understood what this meant, there was knowledge that was to be known, but it was hidden because there was no one to make it known.
"And one of the elders said to me, 'Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.' And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne." (Revelation 5:5-7)
Finally one was found worthy and able to open the book, Jesus Christ. The point of this story is that we are unable to know the full extent of the wisdom and counsel of God apart from that which is revealed to us by Jesus Christ. If we are to grow in knowledge, then we must be able to receive the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation is the key to growing in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

More to come... David Robison

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