This thing called revelation

RevelationI would like to talk about the nature of revelation.

I’ve spent the last several years wrestling for adequate language to describe this paradigm shift in my understanding of Christianity because of my various encounters with the Father, which is one of the reasons for this blog.  And I know this shift is happening with many others in the body of Christ too.

This struggle to hone what’s in my heart into coherent thought is both a source of frustration and exceeding joy. So, please indulge me as I muddle through this thing called revelation.

And it’s important to muddle so because revelation is foundational to the Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself declares this when it’s revealed to Peter that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God:

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah,
for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
but My Father who is in heaven.
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.” (Matt.16:17-18).

The Greek word “revealed” here is ἀποκαλύπτω (apokalyptō), which means “to uncover.”

Jesus uses a play on words to say that it’s on this “rock” (petra), this “revealing” of Christ and His Kingdom by the Father, will be the foundation stone of His Church. There is also an allusion to Peter (Petros) himself being a foundational “stone” or pillar, if you will, but this is secondary to the main point.

Okay, what is revelation? Let’s start by understanding what it’s not…

Revelation is not information. It cannot be learned.

Revelation cannot not discovered by logic or reason.

Revelation is not data or facts. It cannot be be attained by calculation or uncovered by investigation.

Revelation is not the same thing as faith. Faith is needed when you don’t have revelation.

You won’t find revelation by looking into your own soul.

You won’t receive revelation from man, so it can’t be taught by man. You can’t go to school for it or study to get it. It can only come from God.

“for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”

What is revelation then?

It’s the uncovering or unveiling of Christ and His Kingdom by the Holy Spirit to our human spirit. The eyes of our heart are suddenly opened as we encounter God, and this changes everything.

It’s a nontransferable “knowing.” We must receive it directly from God for ourselves. A couple examples of experiential knowledge will help us here.

I could study all about my wife, talk to her family and friends, know her whole history forward and backwards, do a word study on everything she has ever said, study her genealogy, go to school to learn everything she’s ever written, study pictures and videos of her….and still not know her. I will only know her when I meet her myself and talk to her. You could say, I’ve “encountered” her in over 33 years of marriage. 🙂

In this sense, revelation is intimate experiential knowledge.

Another example, one my brothers is a Vietnam War veteran. He can tell me all about being there on the hellish battlefields. I could even become an expert in Vietnam War history…but I still would not know what I’m talking about because I wasn’t there. He has experiential revelation; I only have information.

Revelation, in this light, cannot be obtained second-hand.

But these are still poor examples because spiritual revelation doesn’t come through our natural senses at all but from within our human spirit by the Holy Spirit.

A revelation from God is like peering into a crack in this space-time continuum, suddenly perceiving something that we haven’t seen with our natural eyes yet it will forever change how we will ever see things again.

You just “know” a thing and no one can talk you out of it, even though you might not have words to explain it yet.

The Pharisees studied commentary; Jesus knew His Father. That’s revelation.

For the things that transform us are the things that the Spirit reveals to us. You can be talked out of information you’ve learned about God, but you can’t be talked out of experiential revelation you’ve received from Him.

You cannot be argued into revelation, and you can’t be argued out of it. For whatever is revealed to you belongs to you forever (Deut.29:29).

And the funny thing about revelation is, it’s first perfectly received, then later…sometimes much later…poorly articulated. It’s comes in a flash, faster than the speed of thought, but often takes a lifetime to unpack and comprehend.

And this is my glorious dilemma. God is turning my world upside-down and inside-out, and all I can do is use these poor words. But, oh, the joy inside! So I will continue trying to articulate something clear in my heart that seems to defy description in my mind.

Next time I will look how we know if our revelation is from God. For now, I will end this impossible post with Paul’s awesome prayer for us…

 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened,
so that you will know what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance
in the saints.” (Eph.1:18)

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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20 Responses to This thing called revelation

  1. Dear Mr. Mel
    I really interested with your post. I would like to ask your permission to print this post. May I print this out? Well, just for my further reading and study. This was so great article 🙂 first of all, thank you so much. Many blessings.
    Regards.
    Karina

  2. Kathleen says:

    Reblogged this on Coming2Him and commented:
    This was fuel for my heart this morning and I wanted to share it with you. The wisdom that Mel Wild shares over at his site “In My Father’s House” is a blessing- visit him there and feast on the good food provided.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Mel, Thank you for the struggle to put down your findings in words. I shook my head ‘yes’ with every line. I reblogged to share this wonderful feast with friends and family. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing and encouraging us to continue to pursue the Lover of our souls.
    Kathleen

    • Mel Wild says:

      I’m glad it resonated with you. As I mentioned, I think God is shaking a lot of us and we’re not quite sure what to do with it. 🙂 Your confirming comments are much appreciated, as always.

  4. bullroarin says:

    Good post Mel…as usual!

    “And this is my glorious dilemma. God is turning my world upside-down and inside-out, and all I can do is use these poor words.”

    Don’t underestimate yourself…your words speak volumes.

    Its funny in a sense, but, we are all growing together…are we not? Like a body, one part does not grow faster than another…all parts grow proportionately, and so, while you struggle to move ahead at lightening speed, there are some who are just doing their best to keep a snails pace.

    I think the fantastic part is that you are making people aware of the possibility to know God intimately…in their heart, not just in their head.

    Blessings, ~ Dave

    • Mel Wild says:

      I appreciate your encouraging comments, Dave. Yes, we need to use words to point people in the right direction, and this is the joy part of the struggle. I’ve been working at this, trying to put to words to what’s happened, and continues to happen to me, since 2007. And what others farther along than me have said has greatly helped in this regard. So it’s coming together although still poorly in light of what’s in my heart.

      And I totally agree. It’s not just me in this place, we all are growing together in this thing. I believe that God is deconstructing the Western Augustinian assumptions we’ve inherited (not outright rejecting but learning from and moving on) and showing us how to see with His eyes. He’s turning it all upside-down, getting us out of our heads and into His heart. And this truly changes and affects everything. So much of what we’ve believed and even interpreted in Scripture is actually looking at it backwards. So it may initially sound wrong to us. This comes from centuries of putting the proverbial cart before the horse in how we relate to God. We’re learning how to receive now, how to subject our mind to our spirit. And He’s revealing who we are in Him as sons and daughters instead of religious orphans, and how to truly worship Him in Spirit and Truth. It truly is a glorious dilemma we find ourselves in. 🙂

  5. Ayanda says:

    Hi Mel, you sound like you’ve been bowled over:-),
    I love what you say here “And the funny thing about revelation is, it’s first perfectly received, then later…sometimes much later…poorly articulated”(where were you 2yrs ago)

    In my case I’ve learnt that revelation when your mind is not renewed, can after being perfectly received be muddied and misunderstood. ( My mind goes to the parable of the Farmer and the Seeds) Therefore I’ve learnt to be still after receiving a revelation and wait on God.

    I’ve also found that revelation develops a hunger and thirst for more of God, leading to a deeper relationship. He gives us revelation but He also is the interpreter of the revelation and thereafter the guide on what to do with that revelation ( it might just be in my case I am a bit of a dunder head in some instances :-)).
    Revelation makes me even more dependent on God. I suppose that’s why we come to Christ by revelation not by knowledge.

    I’m looking forward to your posts on this series. This is going to be an exciting ride 🙂

  6. Mel Wild says:

    Thanks Ayanda. Where was I two years ago? Being bowled over. 🙂 Actually, that’s when I was trying to put some of this stuff I write here into words for our ministry school. But what you say here is spot-on. Revelation produces hunger and wanting a deeper relationship with God. And I was just talking to a former student of mine this morning about this. He was saying how, while revelation changes us, we can’t live there. We must move on, seek Him daily. Otherwise, we stop growing and stay stuck where we are. Revelation is meant to build and shape. God is constantly leading us and guiding us into Himself, until He makes us think, act and love like Jesus. Blessings.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Excellent post, Mel.

    I think the key to revelation is none other than son-ship. For “The Father loves the son, and shows him all things.”

    “Revelation, in this light, cannot be obtained second-hand.” Totally agree with this statement. This is also connected to subsequently being a “witness” for Christ. A witness is someone who has both “seen and heard something”. It’s a judicial term – based on experiential encounter. It’s impossible to be a witness for Christ based on anything other than revelation that you have both seen and heard – i.e. encountered.

    Also, did you know that when Jesus was speaking to Peter in (Matt.16:17-18) that he was actually at Caesarea Phillipi – which was literally the “Gate of Hell” to a first century Jew – due to all the idol worship of Pan. Anyway, thought that might interest you too.

    Grace to you,

    John

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, John. And amen! The Father loves the Son and shows Him all things, and we have been given that sonship through the Holy Spirit (John 16:14-15).

      And, interestingly enough, I almost said what you said about Matt.16:17-18! Our Messianic friend and guide, Arie Bar David, told us that when we were at Caesarea Phillipi the last time we were in Israel. We saw the rock wall you’re talking about where all the idols were placed, including Pan. I have pictures of that. It was fascinating. Religious idolatry cannot stand against revelation of the true God in Christ Jesus! Blessings.

  8. Yes, yes, and yes! Oh, my gosh, yes. You have SO been inside my head of late. “This struggle to hone what’s in my heart into coherent thought is both a source of frustration and exceeding joy…this thing called revelation.” Ever since I began to read the Bible seven years ago, and then allow it to read me two years ago, I have experienced it come alive. All I want to do is share its treasures.

  9. Michael says:

    Amen, Mel! I thought as I saw the end approach, He’s just getting started because there’s more to this! Glad to see that more is coming. Praising God for what you’re receiving from him.

  10. Pingback: How to know if revelation is from God | In My Father's House

  11. I have experienced numerous revelations the way you describe them. For me, I believe I have received them by doing a very hard thing for a very long time. Sobriety (I was a hard-core, fifth-a-day alcoholic). This is something only God could help me do and I’ve needed all these revelations from Him, to do it. Now, after 34 years of this sobriety, I’ve doing an even harder thing; putting down every addictive substance and obsessive behavior I could think of that that I’ll have “No other gods before God.” I do believe that if I can do this (again with His help through revelation), then I’ll get a clear line to Him so that I can ‘hear’ Him without any worldly static to block the line. I’ve become so obsessed with this – His first commandment – that I gave up cigarettes without any trouble at all, because they were just getting in the way of my phone line to God. I want these revelations for all I’m worth. They fling me forward into new realms of understanding about how to live well in this earthly journey I’m on.

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