Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

THEOLOGY > Bible > Revelation > Revelation was Historical 


Revelation is not to be thought of as something mystical or abstract; it embodied a definite word given to specific individuals—it was given in time to actual people. The Revelation was and is historical.

Repeatedly the Bible states this fact, especially in the prophets. God chose Moses and he wrote; God chose Isaiah and he wrote; and God chose Paul and he wrote. God chose others and they wrote, with each writer often listing people or events that fix the time and the place of the Revelation they received. Revelation was a historical event that occurred at a point in history; it was addressed to real people in real situations. Scripture succinctly claims: “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:21); Peter affirms that a historical word was given to historical men.

This historical Revelation was selective, selective in the sense that the Revelation was not given to everyone. It was not given to all nations, but only to God’s chosen people. The psalmist says: “He declares His word to Jacob, His statues and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them” (Ps. 147:19-20). "To Jacob," meaning "to the nation of Israel," God gave His word—a reflection of His sovereign choice of the seed of Abraham to be His people (see: God is Sovereign). But to the surrounding nations and to the other nations of the world, God did not reveal Himself and the Truth about Himself.

But even in Israel only a very few were chosen to receive “the word of Yahweh”. Moses, David, and the prophets were among those who were so blessed. These select ones were moved by the Holy Spirit; they received the Truth, and they inscribed the Truth. The Revelation was given to those God had chosen, and through them God’s Word came to the nation He had chosen. Again, the point is that the Revelation was given to actual people who gave it to an existent nation that was located in the Middle East.

The historical dimension of God’s Revelation is also evidenced in the New Testament. Paul was on a mission of murder (a very historical event), but on the road to Damascus God appeared to him, setting in motion events that would result in Paul penning the majority of the books of the New Testament during his missionary journeys. In one of his epistles, Paul asserts: “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12). Paul’s exposition of the gospel was the consequence of God’s Revelation to one who persecuted the Church but who by grace came to be “in Christ.”

Also the Revelation was given to fishermen, a tax-collector, a physician; the lives of these men are tied to a historical era and to literal events that occurred during that time. The Revelation can be dated and located—it was historical.

On the fifth day of the month,
which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity,
the word of Yahweh came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi,
in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar;
and the hand of Yahweh was upon him there.
Ezek. 1:2-3

Return to Revelation; Next Article: Revelation was Progressive

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.