Revelation

In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.

Hildegard von Bingen
Illumination from Liber Scivias, showing Hildegard of Bingen receiving a vision, dictating to her scribe and sketching on a wax tablet.

Description

Some religions have religious texts which they view as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired. For instance, Orthodox Jews, Christians and Muslims believe that the Torah was received from Yahweh on biblical Mount Sinai.[1][2] Most Christians believe that both the Old Testament and the New Testament were inspired by God. Muslims believe the Quran was revealed by God to Muhammad word by word through the angel Gabriel (Jibril).[3][4] In Hinduism, some Vedas are considered apauruṣeya, "not human compositions", and are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti, "what is heard". The 15,000 handwritten pages produced by the mystic Maria Valtorta were represented as direct dictations from Jesus, while she attributed The Book of Azariah to her guardian angel.[5] Aleister Crowley stated that The Book of the Law had been revealed to him through a higher being that called itself Aiwass.

A revelation communicated by a supernatural entity reported as being present during the event is called a vision. Direct conversations between the recipient and the supernatural entity,[6] or physical marks such as stigmata, have been reported. In rare cases, such as that of Saint Juan Diego, physical artifacts accompany the revelation.[7] The Roman Catholic concept of interior locution includes just an inner voice heard by the recipient.

In the Abrahamic religions, the term is used to refer to the process by which God reveals knowledge of himself, his will, and his divine providence to the world of human beings.[8] In secondary usage, revelation refers to the resulting human knowledge about God, prophecy, and other divine things. Revelation from a supernatural source plays a less important role in some other religious traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.

Background

Inspiration – such as that bestowed by God on the author of a sacred book – involves a special illumination of the mind, in virtue of which the recipient conceives such thoughts as God desires him to commit to writing, and does not necessarily involve supernatural communication.[9]

With the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, beginning about the mid-17th century, the development of rationalism, materialism and atheism, the concept of supernatural revelation itself faced skepticism. In The Age of Reason (1794–1809), Thomas Paine develops the theology of deism, rejecting the possibility of miracles and arguing that a revelation can be considered valid only for the original recipient, with all else being hearsay.[10]

Types

Individual revelation

Thomas Aquinas believed in two types of individual revelation from God, general revelation and special revelation. In general revelation, God reveals himself through his creation, such that at least some truths about God can be learned by the empirical study of nature, physics, cosmology, etc., to an individual. Special revelation is the knowledge of God and spiritual matters which can be discovered through supernatural means, such as scripture or miracles, by individuals. Direct revelation refers to communication from God to someone in particular.

Though one may deduce the existence of God and some of God's attributes through general revelation, certain specifics may be known only through special revelation. Aquinas believed that special revelation is equivalent to the revelation of God in Jesus. The major theological components of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, are revealed in the teachings of the church and the scriptures and may not otherwise be deduced. Special revelation and natural revelation are complementary rather than contradictory in nature.

"Continuous revelation" is a term for the theological position that God continues to reveal divine principles or commandments to humanity.

In the 20th century, religious existentialists proposed that revelation held no content in and of itself but rather that God inspired people with his presence by coming into contact with them. Revelation is a human response that records how we respond to God.

Public revelation

The Ten Commandments (Bible Card)
The mass-revelation at the Mount Horeb in an illustration from a Christian Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company, 1907

Some religious groups believe a deity has been revealed or spoken to a large group of people or have legends to a similar effect. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Yahweh is said to have been revealed upon giving the Ten Commandments to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. In Christianity, the Book of Acts describes the Day of Pentecost wherein a large group of the followers of Jesus experienced mass revelation. The Lakota people believe Ptesáŋwiŋ spoke directly to the people in the establishment of Lakota religious traditions. Some versions of an Aztec legend tell of Huitzilopochtli speaking directly to the Aztec people upon their arrival at Anåhuac. Historically, some emperors, cult leaders, and other figures have also been deified and treated as though their words are themselves revelations.

Methods

Verbal

Some people hold that God can communicate with man in a way that gives direct, propositional content: This is termed verbal revelation. Orthodox Judaism and some forms of Christianity hold that the first five books of Moses were dictated by God in such a fashion.

Non-verbal propositional

One school of thought holds that revelation is non-verbal and non-literal, yet it may have propositional content. People were divinely inspired by God with a message, but not in a verbal-like fashion.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has written, "To convey what the prophets experienced, the Bible could either use terms of descriptions or terms of indication. Any description of the act of revelation in empirical categories would have produced a caricature. That is why all the Bible does is to state that revelation happened; how it happened is something they could only convey in words that are evocative and suggestive."[11]

Isaiah writes that he received his message through visions, where he would see YHWH, the God of Israel, speaking to angelic beings that surrounded him. Isaiah would then write down the dialogue exchanged between YHWH and the angels. This form of revelation constitutes the major part of the text of the Book of Isaiah. The same formula of divine revelation is used by other prophets throughout the Tanakh, such as Micaiah in 1 Kings 22:19–22.[12]

Epistemology

Members of Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam, believe that God exists and can in some way reveal his will to people. Members of those religions distinguish between true prophets and false prophets, and there are documents offering criteria by which to distinguish true from false prophets. The question of epistemology then arises: how to know?

Some believe that revelation can originate directly from a deity or through an agent such as an angel. One who has experienced such contact with, or communication from, the divine is often called a prophet. An article (p. 555) under the heading "mysticism," and contributed by Ninian Smart, J. F. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religion, University of California, and President of the American Academy of Religion, writing in the 1999 edition of "The Norton Dictionary of Modern Thought," (W. W. Norton & Co. Inc.), suggests that the more proper and wider term for such an encounter would be mystical, making such a person a mystic. All prophets would be mystics, but not all mystics would be prophets.

Revelation from a supernatural source is of lesser importance in some other religious traditions, such as Taoism and Confucianism.

In various religions

Bahá'í

Revelation-writing
'Revelation writing': The first draft of a tablet of Bahá'u'lláh

The Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá received thousands of written enquiries, and wrote thousands of responses, hundreds of which amount to whole and proper books, while many are shorter texts, such as letters. In addition, the Bahá'í faith has large works which were divinely revealed in a very short time, as in a night, or a few days.[13] Additionally, because many of the works were first recorded by an amanuensis,[14] most were submitted for approval and correction and the final text was personally approved by the revelator.

Bahá'u'lláh would occasionally write the words of revelation down himself, but normally the revelation was dictated to his amanuensis, who sometimes recorded it in what has been called revelation writing, a shorthand script written with extreme speed owing to the rapidity of the utterance of the words. Afterwards, Bahá'u'lláh revised and approved these drafts. These revelation drafts and many other transcriptions of Bahá'u'lláh's writings, around 15,000 items, some of which are in his own handwriting, are kept in the International Bahá'í Archives in Haifa, Israel.[15][16][17]

Christianity

Many Christians believe in the possibility and even reality of private revelations, messages from God for individuals, which can come in a variety of ways. Montanism is an example in early Christianity and there are alleged cases today also.[18] However, Christians see as of a much higher level the revelation recorded in the collection of books known as the Bible. They consider these books to be written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They regard Jesus as the supreme revelation of God, with the Bible being a revelation in the sense of a witness to him.[19] The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "the Christian faith is not a 'religion of the book.' Christianity is the religion of the 'Word of God', a word which is 'not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living".[20]

Gregory and Nix speak of Biblical inerrancy as meaning that, in its original form, the Bible is totally without error, and free from all contradiction, including the historical and scientific parts.[21] Coleman speaks of Biblical infallibility as meaning that the Bible is inerrant on issues of faith and practice but not history or science.[22] The Catholic Church speaks not about infallibility of Scripture but about its freedom from error, holding "the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture".[23] The Second Vatican Council, citing earlier declarations, stated: "Since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation".[24][25] It added: "Since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words."[26] The Reformed Churches believe in the Bible is inerrant in the sense spoken of by Gregory and Nix and "deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science".[27] The Westminster Confession of Faith speaks of "the infallible truth and divine authority" of the Scriptures.[28]

In the New Testament, Jesus treats the Old Testament as authoritative and says it "cannot be broken" (John 10:34–36). 2 Timothy 3:16 says: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness". The Second Epistle of Peter claims that "no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20–21). It also speaks of Paul's letters as containing some things "hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures".[29]

This letter does not specify "the other Scriptures", nor does the term "all Scripture" in 2 Timothy indicate which writings were or would be breathed out by God and useful for teaching, since it does not preclude later works, such as the Book of Revelation and the Epistles of John may have been. The Catholic Church recognizes 73 books as inspired and forming the Bible (46 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament). The most common versions of the Bible that Protestants have today consist of 66 of these books. None of the 66 or 73 books gives a list of revealed books.

Theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher Paul Johannes Tillich (1886–1965), who sought to correlate culture and faith so that "faith need not be unacceptable to contemporary culture and contemporary culture need not be unacceptable to faith", argued that revelation never runs counter to reason (affirming Thomas Aquinas who said that faith is eminently rational), and that both poles of the subjective human experience are complementary.[30]

Karl Barth argued that God is the object of God’s own self-knowledge, and revelation in the Bible means the self-unveiling to humanity of the God who cannot be discovered by humanity simply through its own efforts. For him, the Bible is not The Revelation; rather, it points to revelation. Human concepts can never be considered as identical to God's revelation, and Scripture is written in human language, expressing human concepts. It cannot be considered identical with God's revelation. However, God does reveal himself through human language and concepts, and thus Christ is truly presented in scripture and the preaching of the church.

Latter Day Saint movement

Joseph Smith receiving golden plates
An 1893 engraving of Joseph Smith receiving the golden plates and other artifacts from the angel Moroni.

This denomination believes that the president of the church receives revelation directly from God for the direction of the church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and some other Latter Day Saint denominations claim to be led by revelation from God to a living prophet, who receives God’s word, just as Abraham, Moses, other ancient prophets and apostles did.

Latter-day Saints believe in an open scriptural canon, and in addition to the Bible and the Book of Mormon, have books of scripture containing the revelations of modern-day prophets such as the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. LDS Church leaders (from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) have taught during the church's General Conferences that conference talks which are "…[spoken as] moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture…".[31] In addition, many Mormons believe that ancient prophets in other regions of the world received revelations that resulted in additional scriptures that have been lost and may, one day, be forthcoming. Hence, the belief in continuing revelation. Latter Day Saints also believe that the United States Constitution is a divinely inspired document.[32][33]

Mormons sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as prophet, seer, and revelator—the only person on earth who receives revelation to guide the entire church. They also sustain the two counselors in the First Presidency, as well as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as prophets, seers, and revelators.[34] They believe that God has followed a pattern of continued revelation to prophets throughout the history of mankind (KJV Luke 1:70)--both to establish doctrine and maintain its integrity, as well as to guide the church under changing world conditions.[35] When this pattern of revelation was broken, it was because the receivers of revelation had been rejected and often killed (Matt 23:31–37, Luke 11:47–51). In the meridian of time, Paul described prophets and apostles in terms of a foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone, which was built to prevent doctrinal shift—"that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph 2:20 and 4:11–14, see also Matt 16:17–18). To maintain this foundation, new apostles were chosen and ordained to replace those lost to death or transgression, as when Matthias was called by revelation to replace Judas (Acts 1:15–26). However, as intensifying persecution led to the imprisonment and martyrdom of the apostles, it eventually became impossible to continue the apostolic succession.[36] Once the foundation of apostles and prophets was lost, the integrity of Christian doctrine as established by Christ and the apostles began to be compromised by those who continued to develop doctrine despite not being called or authorized to receive revelation for the body of the church. In the absence of revelation, these post-apostolic theologians couldn’t help but introduce elements of human reasoning, speculation, and personal interpretation of scripture (2 Pet 1:19–20)—which over time led to the loss or corruption of various doctrinal truths, as well as the addition of new man-made doctrines. This naturally led to much disagreement and schism, which over the centuries culminated in the large number of Christian churches on the earth today. Mormons believe that God resumed his pattern of revelation when the world was again ready, by calling the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.[37] Since that time there has been a consistent succession of prophets and apostles, which God has promised will not be broken before the Second Coming of Christ (Dan 2:44).[38]

Each member of the LDS Church is also confirmed a member of the church following baptism and given the "gift of the Holy Ghost" by which each member is encouraged to develop a personal relationship with that divine being and receive personal revelation for their own direction and that of their family. The Latter Day Saint concept of revelation includes the belief that revelation from God is available to all those who earnestly seek it with the intent of doing good. It also teaches that everyone is entitled to personal revelation with respect to his or her stewardship (leadership responsibility). Thus, parents may receive inspiration from God in raising their families, individuals can receive divine inspiration to help them meet personal challenges, church officers may receive revelation for those whom they serve, and so forth.

The important consequence of this is that each person may receive confirmation that particular doctrines taught by a prophet are true, as well as gain divine insight in using those truths for their own benefit and eternal progress. In the church, personal revelation is expected and encouraged, and many converts believe that personal revelation from God was instrumental in their conversion.[39] Joseph F. Smith, the sixth president of the LDS Church, summarized this church's belief concerning revelation by saying, "We believe… in the principle of direct revelation from God to man."[40] (Smith, 362)

Islam

Muhammad-Majmac-al-tawarikh-1
Muhammad's Call to Prophecy and the First Revelation; leaf from a copy of the Majmac al-tawarikh (Compendium of Histories), ca. 1425; Timurid. From Herat, Afghanistan. In The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Muslims believe that God (Arabic: ألله Allah) revealed his final message to all of existence through Muhammad via the angel Gabriel.[41] Muhammad is considered to have been the Seal of the Prophets and the last revelation, the Qur'an, is believed by Muslims to be the flawless final revelation of God to humanity, valid until the Last Day. The Qur'an claims to have been revealed word by word and letter by letter.

Muslims hold that the message of Islam is the same as the message preached by all the messengers sent by God to humanity since Adam. Muslims believe that Islam is the oldest of the monotheistic religions because it represents both the original and the final revelation of God to Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad.[42][43] Likewise, Muslims believe that every prophet received revelation in their lives, as each prophet was sent by God to guide mankind. Jesus is significant in this aspect as he received revelation in a twofold aspect, as Muslims believe he preached the Gospel while also having been taught the Torah.

According to Islamic traditions, Muhammad began receiving revelations from the age of 40, delivered through the angel Gabriel over the last 23 years of his life. The content of these revelations, known as the Qur'an,[44] was memorized and recorded by his followers and compiled from dozens of hafiz as well as other various parchments or hides into a single volume shortly after his death. In Muslim theology, Muhammad is considered equal in importance to all other prophets of God and to make distinction among the prophets is a sin, as the Qur'an itself promulgates equality between God's prophets.(Qur'an 3:84)

Many scholars have made the distinction between revelation and inspiration, which according to Muslim theology, all righteous people can receive. Inspiration refers to God inspiring a person to commit some action, as opposed to revelation, which only the prophets received. Moses's mother, Jochebed, being inspired to send the infant Moses in a cradle down the Nile river is a frequently cited example of inspiration, as is Hagar searching for water for the infant Ishmael.

Judaism

The term "revelation" is used in two senses in Jewish theology; it either denotes (1) what in rabbinical language is called "Gilluy Shekinah," a manifestation of God by some wondrous act of His which overawes man and impresses him with what he sees, hears, or otherwise perceives of His glorious presence; or it denotes (2) a manifestation of His will through oracular words, signs, statutes, or laws.[45]

In Judaism, issues of epistemology have been addressed by Jewish philosophers such as Saadiah Gaon (882–942) in his Book of Beliefs and Opinions; Maimonides (1135–1204) in his Guide for the Perplexed; Samuel Hugo Berman, professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University; Joseph Dov Soloveitchik (1903–1993), talmudic scholar and philosopher; Neil Gillman, professor of philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Elliot N. Dorff, professor of philosophy at the American Jewish University.

One of the major trends in modern Jewish philosophy was the attempt to develop a theory of Judaism through existentialism. One of the primary players in this field was Franz Rosenzweig. His major work, Star of Redemption, expounds a philosophy in which he portrays the relationships between God, humanity and world as they are connected by creation, revelation and redemption. Conservative Jewish philosophers Elliot N. Dorff and Neil Gillman take the existentialist philosophy of Rosenzweig as one of their starting points for understanding Jewish philosophy. (They come to different conclusions, however.)

Rabbinic Judaism, and contemporary Orthodox Judaism, hold that the Torah (Pentateuch) extant today is essentially the same one that the whole of the Jewish people received on Mount Sinai, from God, upon their Exodus from Egypt.[46] Beliefs that God gave a "Torah of truth" to Moses (and the rest of the people), that Moses was the greatest of the prophets, and that the Law given to Moses will never be changed, are three of the Thirteen Principles of Faith of Orthodox Judaism according to Maimonides.

Orthodox Judaism believes that in addition to the written Torah, God also revealed to Moses a set of oral teachings, called the Oral Torah. In addition to this revealed law, Jewish law contains decrees and enactments made by prophets, rabbis, and sages over the course of Jewish history. Haredi Judaism tends to regard even rabbinic decrees as being of divine origin or divinely inspired, while Modern Orthodox Judaism tends to regard them as being more potentially subject to human error, although due to the Biblical verse "Do not stray from their words" ("Deuteronomy 17:11) it is still accepted as binding law.

Conservative Judaism tends to regard both the Torah and the Oral law as not verbally revealed. The Conservative approach tends to regard the Torah as compiled by redactors in a manner similar to the Documentary Hypothesis. However, Conservative Jews also regard the authors of the Torah as divinely inspired, and many regard at least portions of it as originating with Moses. Positions can vary from the position of Joel Roth, following David Weiss HaLivni, that while the Torah originally given to Moses on Mount Sinai became corrupted or lost and had to be recompiled later by redactors, the recompiled Torah is nonetheless regarded as fully Divine and legally authoritative, to the position of Gordon Tucker that the Torah, while Divinely inspired, is a largely human document containing significant elements of human error, and should be regarded as the beginning of an ongoing process which is continuing today. Conservative Judaism regards the Oral Law as divinely inspired, but nonetheless subject to human error.

Reform and Reconstructionist Jews also accept the Documentary Hypothesis for the origin of the Torah, and tend to view all of the Oral law as an entirely human creation. Reform believe that the Torah is not a direct revelation from God, but is a document written by human ancestors, carrying human understanding and experience, and seeking to answer the question: 'What does God require of us?'. They believe that, though it contains many 'core-truths' about God and humanity, it is also time bound. They believe that God's will is revealed through the interaction of humanity and God throughout history, and so, in that sense, Torah is a product of an ongoing revelation. Reconstructionist Judaism denies the notion of revelation entirely.

Prophets

Although the Nevi'im (the books of the Prophets) are considered divine and true, this does not imply that the books of the prophets are always read literally. Jewish tradition has always held that prophets used metaphors and analogies. There exists a wide range of commentaries explaining and elucidating those verses consisting of metaphor. Rabbinic Judaism regards Moses as the greatest of the prophets, and this view is one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith of traditional Judaism. Consistent with the view that revelation to Moses was generally clearer than revelation to other prophets, Orthodox views of revelation to prophets other than Moses have included a range of perspectives as to directness. For example, Maimonides in The Guide for the Perplexed said that accounts of revelation in the Nevi'im were not always as literal as in the Torah and that some prophetic accounts reflect allegories rather than literal commands or predictions.

Conservative Rabbi and philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972), author of a number of works on prophecy, said that, "Prophetic inspiration must be understood as an event, not as a process."[47] In his work God in Search of Man, he discussed the experience of being a prophet. In his book Prophetic Inspiration After the Prophets: Maimonides and Others, Heschel references to continued prophetic inspiration in Jewish rabbinic literature following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and into medieval and even Modern times. He wrote that

"To convey what the prophets experienced, the Bible could either use terms of descriptions or terms of indication. Any description of the act of revelation in empirical categories would have produced a caricature. That is why all the Bible does is to state that revelation happened. How it happened is something they could only convey in words that are evocative and suggestive."[48]

Recent revelations

The miracle of the Sun is probably the best-known revelation of recent times, but while some still consider it to be a genuine miracle, others regard it as a natural phenomenon with a natural explanation.[49]

See also

References

  1. ^ Beale G.K., The Book of Revelation, NIGTC, Grand Rapids – Cambridge 1999. = ISBN 0-8028-2174-X
  2. ^ Esposito, John L. What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 7–8.
  3. ^ Lambert, Gray (2013). The Leaders Are Coming!. WestBow Press. p. 287. ISBN 9781449760137.
  4. ^ Roy H. Williams; Michael R. Drew (2012). Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future. Vanguard Press. p. 143. ISBN 9781593157067.
  5. ^ Maria Valtorta, The Poem of the Man God, ISBN 99926-45-57-1
  6. ^ Michael Freze, 1993, Voices, Visions, and Apparitions, OSV Publishing ISBN 0-87973-454-X p. 252
  7. ^ Michael Freze, 1989 They Bore the Wounds of Christ ISBN 0-87973-422-1
  8. ^ "Revelation | Define Revelation at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  9. ^ "Joyce, George. "Revelation." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 3 May 2014". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  10. ^ Paine, Thomas (1987) [1794]. Foot, Michael; Kramnick, Isaac, eds. The Thomas Paine Reader. New York: Penguin Books. p. 403. ISBN 0-14-044496-3.
  11. ^ God in Search of Man
  12. ^ "1 Kings 22 / Hebrew – English Bible / Mechon-Mamre". Mechon-mamre.org. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  13. ^ "Book of Certitude: Dating the Iqan". Kalimat Press. 1995. Retrieved 2007-02-26.
  14. ^ The Writings of Baha'u'llah, Published in The Bahá'í World. 14. Bahá'í World Centre. pp. 620–32. Retrieved 2007-02-26.
  15. ^ "A new volume of Bahá'í sacred writings, recently translated and comprising Bahá'u'lláh's call to world leaders, is published". Bahá'í World Centre. Retrieved 2007-02-26.
  16. ^ Taherzadeh, A. (1976). The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853–63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-270-8.
  17. ^ For extended comments on the divine revelation of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, and `Abdu'l-Bahá see Number of tablets revealed by Bahá'u'lláh by Robert Stockman and Juan Cole, Numbers and Classifications of Sacred Writings texts by the Universal House of Justice, and Horace Holley's preface of The Bahá'í Revelation, including Selections from the Bahá'í Holy Writings and Talks by `Abdu'l-Bahá.
  18. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church, 67". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  19. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 426, 516.
  20. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., para. 108
  21. ^ Geisler & Nix (1986). A General Introduction to the Bible. Moody Press, Chicago. ISBN 0-8024-2916-5.
  22. ^ Coleman, R. J. (1975). "Biblical Inerrancy: Are We Going Anywhere?". Theology Today. 31 (4): 295. doi:10.1177/004057367503100404.
  23. ^ "Cardinal Augustin Bea, "Vatican II and the Truth of Sacred Scripture"". Archived from the original on 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  24. ^ "Second Vatican Council, ''Dei Verbum'' (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation), 11". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  25. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church, 105-108". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  26. ^ Dei Verbum, 12
  27. ^ Second Helvetic Confession, Of the Holy Scripture Being the True Word of God; Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Online text
  28. ^ Wikisource:Confession of Faith Ratification Act 1690
  29. ^ 2 Peter 3:15–16
  30. ^ Systematic Theology I, by Paul Tillich, University of Chicago Press, 205. 0-226803-37-6. Paul Tillich. Systematic Theology. p. 307. ISBN 0-226-80336-8.
  31. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 68:4
  32. ^ Dallin H. Oaks (Feb 1992). "The Divinely Inspired Constitution". Ensign.
  33. ^ See D&C 101:77–80
  34. ^ "Prophets". Lds.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  35. ^ "Revelation". Lds.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  36. ^ "Gospel Principles Chapter 16: The Church of Jesus Christ in Former Times". Lds.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  37. ^ "Gospel Principles Chapter 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today". Lds.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  38. ^ "The Church of Jesus Christ". Lds.org. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  39. ^ "Continuing Revelation". Mormon.org. Retrieved August 5, 2005.
  40. ^ Smith, Joseph F. "41: Continuing Revelation for the Benefit of the Church". Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. p. 362. ISBN 1-59955-103-9. Archived from the original on |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help).
  41. ^ Watton (1993), "Introduction"
  42. ^ Esposito (2002b), pp.4–5
  43. ^ [Quran 42:13]
  44. ^ The term Qur'an was first used in the Qur'an itself. There are two different theories about this term and its formation that are discussed in Quran#Etymology
  45. ^ ""Revelation", Jewish Encyclopedia". Jewishencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
  46. ^ Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith and Rabbi Moshe Zeldman: "Did God Speak at Sinai", Aish HaTorah
  47. ^ Heschel, Abraham Joshua (1955). God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism. Noonday. p. 209. ISBN 0-374-51331-7.
  48. ^ Heschel, Abraham Joshua (1987). God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism. ason Aronson Inc. ISBN 0-87668-955-1.
  49. ^ "The Lady of Fátima & the Miracle of the Sun". LiveScience.com. Retrieved 2015-10-13.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of revelation at Wiktionary
Abaddon

The Hebrew term Abaddon (Hebrew: אֲבַדּוֹן‎ Abaddon), and its Greek equivalent Apollyon (Greek: Ἀπολλύων, Apollýōn) appear in the Bible as both a place of destruction and an angel of the abyss. In the Hebrew Bible, abaddon is used with reference to a bottomless pit, often appearing alongside the place שְׁאוֹל (Sheol), meaning the realm of the dead.

In the New Testament Book of Revelation, an angel called Abaddon is described as the king of an army of locusts; his name is first transcribed in Greek (Revelation 9:11—"whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, The Angel of Death.") as Ἀβαδδὼν, and then translated ("which in Greek means the Destroyer", Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon). The Latin Vulgate and the Douay Rheims Bible have additional notes (not present in the Greek text), "in Latin Exterminans", exterminans being the Latin word for "destroyer".

Armageddon

According to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Bible, Armageddon (, from Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn, Late Latin: Armagedōn, from Hebrew: הר מגידו Har Megiddo) is the prophesied location of a gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or a symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end of the world scenario.

"Mount" Tel Megiddo is not actually a mountain, but a tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot) on which ancient forts were built to guard the Via Maris, an ancient trade route linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. Megiddo was the location of various ancient battles, including one in the 15th century BC and one in 609 BC. Modern Megiddo is a town approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) west-southwest of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee in the Kishon River area in Israel.

Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation, often called the Revelation to John, the Apocalypse of John, The Revelation, or simply Revelation, the Revelation of Jesus Christ (from its opening words) or the Apocalypse (and often misquoted as Revelations), is the final book of the New Testament, and therefore also the final book of the Christian Bible. It occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. Its title is derived from the first word of the text, written in Koine Greek: apokalypsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation" (before title pages and titles, books were commonly known by the incipit, their first words, as is also the case of the Hebrew Five Books of Moses (Torah)). The Book of Revelation is the only apocalyptic document in the New Testament canon (although there are short apocalyptic passages in various places in the Gospels and the Epistles).The author names himself in the text as "John", but his precise identity remains a point of academic debate. Second-century Christian writers such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Melito the bishop of Sardis, and Clement of Alexandria and the author of the Muratorian fragment identify John the Apostle as the "John" of Revelation. Modern scholarship generally takes a different view, and many consider that nothing can be known about the author except that he was a Christian prophet. Some modern scholars characterise Revelation's author as a putative figure whom they call "John of Patmos". The bulk of traditional sources date the book to the reign of the emperor Domitian (AD 81–96), and the evidence tends to confirm this.The book spans three literary genres: the epistolary, the apocalyptic, and the prophetic. It begins with John, on the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, addressing a letter to the "Seven Churches of Asia". He then describes a series of prophetic visions, including figures such as the Seven Headed Dragon, The Serpent and the Beast, culminating in the Second Coming of Jesus.

The obscure and extravagant imagery has led to a wide variety of Christian interpretations: historicist interpretations see in Revelation a broad view of history; preterist interpretations treat Revelation as mostly referring to the events of the apostolic era (1st century), or, at the latest, the fall of the Roman Empire; futurists believe that Revelation describes future events, the seven churches growing into the body/believers throughout the age, and a reemergence or continuous rule of a Roman/Graeco system with modern capabilities described by John in ways familiar to him; and idealist or symbolic interpretations consider that Revelation does not refer to actual people or events, but is an allegory of the spiritual path and the ongoing struggle between good and evil.

Christian eschatology

Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology dealing with the "last things." Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning "last" (ἔσχατος) and "study" (-λογία), is the study of 'end things', whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world or the nature of the Kingdom of God. Broadly speaking, Christian eschatology is the study concerned with the ultimate destiny of the individual soul and the entire created order, based primarily upon biblical texts within the Old and New Testament.

Christian eschatology looks to study and discuss matters such as death and the afterlife, Heaven and Hell, the second coming Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the rapture, the tribulation, millennialism, the end of the world, the Last Judgment, and the New Heaven and New Earth in the world to come.

Eschatological passages are found in many places in the Bible, both in the Old and the New Testaments. There are also many extrabiblical examples of eschatological prophecies, as well as church traditions.

Dave Chappelle

David Khari Webber Chappelle (; born August 24, 1973) is a multiple Emmy and Grammy award winning American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He is most known for his iconic and acclaimed satirical comedy sketch series Chappelle's Show (2003). The series was also co-written by Neal Brennan, which ran until Chappelle's retirement from the show two years later. After leaving the show, Chappelle returned to performing stand-up comedy across the U.S. By 2006, Chappelle was called the "comic genius of America" by Esquire and, in 2013, "the best" by a Billboard writer. In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked him No. 9 in their "50 Best Stand Up Comics of All Time."Chappelle has appeared in several films including Mel Brooks's Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Nutty Professor, Con Air, You've Got Mail, Blue Streak and Undercover Brother. His first lead role was in the 1998 comedy film Half Baked, which he co-wrote with Neal Brennan. Chappelle also starred in the ABC TV series Buddies.

In 2016, he signed a $20 million-per-release comedy-special deal with Netflix and in 2017, he has released four standup specials so far.Chappelle received his first Emmy Award in 2017 for his guest appearance on Saturday Night Live. In 2018, he received a Grammy Award for his Netflix specials The Age of Spin & Deep in the Heart of Texas. Equanimity, his Netflix special, was nominated in 2018 for three Emmys and received the award for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos, at 6:1–8. The chapter tells of a book or scroll in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses.

Though theologians and popular culture differ on the first Horseman, the four riders are often seen as symbolizing Conquest or Pestilence (and less frequently, the Christ or the Antichrist), War, Famine, and Death. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the Four Horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment. One reading ties the Four Horsemen to the history of the Roman Empire subsequent to the era in which the Book of Revelation was written as a symbolic prophecy.

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is a term found in English translations of the Bible that is understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.

John of Patmos

John of Patmos (also called John the Revelator, John the Divine or John the Theologian; Greek: Ἰωάννης ὁ Θεολόγος, Coptic: ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ) is the author named as John in the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic text forming the final book of the New Testament. The text of Revelation states that John was on Patmos, a Greek island where, by most biblical historians, he is considered to be in exile as a result of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian.Since the Roman era, some Christians and historians have considered the Book of Revelation's writer to be John the Apostle (John the Evangelist), professed author of the Gospel of John. However, a minority of senior clerics and scholars, such as Eusebius (d. 339/340), recognise at least one further John as a companion of Jesus Christ, John the Presbyter "after an interval, placing him among others outside of the number of the apostles". The majority of Christian scholars since medieval times separate the disciple(s) from Revelation's writer, John the Divine.

John the Apostle

John the Apostle (Aramaic: יוחנן שליחא‎ Yohanān Shliḥā; Hebrew: יוחנן בן זבדי Yohanan ben Zavdi; Koine Greek: Ἰωάννης; Coptic: ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ or ⲓⲱ̅ⲁ; Latin: Ioannes; c. AD 6 – c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament, which refers to him as Ἰωάννης. Generally listed as the youngest apostle, he was the son of Zebedee and Salome or Joanna. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. The Church Fathers identify him as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple, and testify that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one to die of natural causes. The traditions of most Christian denominations have held that John the Apostle is the author of several books of the New Testament.

Lamb of God

Lamb of God (Greek: Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, Amnos tou Theou; Latin: Agnus Deī [ˈaŋ.nʊs ˈde.iː]) is a title for Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John. It appears at John 1:29, where John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."Christian doctrine holds that divine Jesus chose to suffer crucifixion at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his divine Father, as an "agent and servant of God" as well as to pick up and carry away the sin of the world. In Christian theology the Lamb of God is viewed as foundational and integral to the message of Christianity.A lion-like lamb that rises to deliver victory after being slain appears several times in the Book of Revelation. It is also referred to in Pauline writings: 1 Corinthians 5:7 suggests that Saint Paul intends to refer to the death of Jesus, who is the Paschal Lamb, using the theme found in Johannine writings. The lamb metaphor is also in line with Psalm 23, which depicts God as a shepherd leading his flock (mankind).

The Lamb of God title is widely used in Christian prayers, and the Agnus Dei is used as a standard part of the Catholic Mass, as well as the classical Western Liturgies of the Anglican and Lutheran Churches. It also is used in liturgy and as a form of contemplative prayer. The Agnus Dei also forms a part of the musical setting for the Mass.

As a visual motif the lamb has been most often represented since the Middle Ages as a standing haloed lamb with a foreleg cocked "holding" a pennant with a red cross on a white ground, though many other ways of representing it have been used.

Mormonism

Mormonism is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 30s. After Smith was killed in 1844, most Mormons followed Brigham Young on his westward journey to the area that became the Utah Territory, calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Other sects include Mormon fundamentalism, which seeks to maintain practices and doctrines such as polygamy, and other small independent denominations. The second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since 2001 called the Community of Christ, does not describe itself as "Mormon", but follows a Trinitarian Christian restorationist theology, and considers itself Restorationist in terms of Latter Day Saint doctrine.

The word Mormon originally derived from the Book of Mormon, a religious text published by Smith, which he said he translated from golden plates with divine assistance. The book describes itself as a chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas and their dealings with God. Based on the book's name, Smith's early followers were more widely known as Mormons, and their faith Mormonism. The term was initially considered pejorative, but Mormons no longer consider it so (although generally preferring other terms such as Latter-day Saint or LDS).Mormonism has common beliefs with the rest of the Latter Day Saint movement, including the use of and belief in the Bible, and in other religious texts including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. It also accepts the Pearl of Great Price as part of its scriptural canon, and has a history of teaching eternal marriage, eternal progression and polygamy (plural marriage), although the LDS Church formally abandoned the practice of plural marriage in 1890. Cultural Mormonism, a lifestyle promoted by Mormon institutions, includes cultural Mormons who identify with the culture, but not necessarily the theology.

New Testament

The New Testament (Ancient Greek: Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, transl. Hē Kainḕ Diathḗkē; Latin: Novum Testamentum) is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament (in whole or in part) has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated (along with readings from the Old Testament) into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.

The New Testament is a collection of Christian works written in the common (Koine) Greek language of the 1st century AD, at different times by various writers, and the modern consensus is that it provides important evidence regarding Judaism in the 1st century. In almost all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books: the four gospels, The Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one epistles, and Revelation.

The united Catholic Church defined the 27-book canon. The earliest known complete list of the 27 books is by the 4th-century eastern Catholic bishop Athanasius. The first time that church councils approved this list was with the councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) in North Africa and Pope Innocent I ratified the same canon in 405, but it is probable that a Council in Rome in 382 under pope Damasus gave the same list first. These councils also provided the canon of the Old Testament, which included the apocryphal books.The original texts were written in the first century of the Christian Era, in Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the conquests of Alexander the Great (335–323 BC) until the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. All the works that eventually became incorporated into the New Testament are believed to have been written no later than around 120 AD. John A. T. Robinson, Dan Wallace, and William F. Albright dated all the books of the New Testament before 70 AD. Others give a final date of 80 AD or of 96 AD.Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul (a major collection of which must have been made already by the early 2nd century) and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (asserted by Irenaeus of Lyon in the late-2nd century as the Four Gospels) gradually were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic (General) Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were originally absent. Other works earlier held to be Scripture, such as 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Diatessaron, were excluded from the New Testament. The Old Testament canon is not completely uniform among all major Christian groups including Roman Catholics, Protestants, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Slavic Orthodox Churches, and the Armenian Orthodox Church. However, the twenty-seven-book canon of the New Testament, at least since Late Antiquity, has been almost universally recognized within Christianity (see Development of the New Testament canon).

Number of the Beast

The Number of the Beast (Greek: Ἀριθμὸς τοῦ θηρίου, Arithmos tou Thēriou) is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the Beast of Revelation in chapter 13. In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the beast is 666. Papyrus 115 (which is the oldest preserved manuscript of the Revelation as of 2017), as well as other ancient sources like Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, give the Number of the Beast as 616 (χιϛ), not 666; critical editions of the Greek text, such as the Novum Testamentum Graece, note 616 as a variant.

Prophets of Christianity

In Christianity the figures widely recognised as prophets are those mentioned as such in the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is believed that prophets are chosen and called by God.

The main list below consists of only those individuals that have been clearly defined as prophets, either by explicit statement or strong contextual implication, (e.g. the purported authors of the books listed as the major prophets and minor prophets) along with the Biblical reference to their office.

In Roman Catholicism, prophets are recognised as having received either public or private revelation. Public revelation is part of the "deposit of faith", which refers to the entire revelation of Jesus Christ passed to successive generations in the forms of sacred scripture (the Bible) and sacred tradition.The secondary list consists of those individuals who are recorded as having had a visionary or prophetic experience, but without a history of any major or consistent prophetic calling. A final list contains the names of those described in the Bible as prophets, but are presented as either misusing this gift or as fraudulent.

Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments (Hebrew: עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, Aseret ha'Dibrot), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and Christianity. The commandments include instructions to worship only God, to honour one's parents, and to keep the sabbath day holy, as well as prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty, and coveting. Different religious groups follow different traditions for interpreting and numbering them.

The Ten Commandments appear twice in the Hebrew Bible, in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Modern scholarship has found likely influences in Hittite and Mesopotamian laws and treaties, but is divided over exactly when the Ten Commandments were written and who wrote them.

The Beast (Revelation)

The Beast (Greek: Θηρίον, Thērion) may refer to one of two beasts described in the Book of Revelation.

The first beast comes "out of the sea" and is given authority and power by the dragon. This first beast is initially mentioned in Revelation 11:7 as coming out of the abyss. His appearance is described in detail in Revelation 13:1-10, and some of the mystery behind his appearance is revealed in Revelation 17:7-18.

The second beast comes "out of the earth" and directs all peoples of the earth to worship the first beast. The second beast is described in Revelation 13:11-18 and is also referred to as the false prophet.

The two beasts are aligned with the dragon in opposition to God. They persecute the "saints" and those who do "not worship the image of the beast [of the sea]" and influence the kings of the earth to gather for the battle of Armageddon. The two beasts are defeated by Christ and are thrown into the lake of fire mentioned in Revelation 19:18-20.

Two witnesses

In the Book of Revelation, the two witnesses are two of God's prophets who are seen in a vision by John of Patmos, who appear during the Second woe recorded in Revelation 11:1-14. They have been variously identified by theologians as two individuals, as two groups of people, or as two concepts. Dispensationalist Christians believe that the events described in the Book of Revelation will occur before and during the Second Coming of Christ.

Whore of Babylon

The Whore of Babylon or Babylon the Great is a symbolic female figure and also place of evil mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Her full title is stated in Revelation 17:5 as Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth (Greek: μυστηριον, Βαβυλὼν ἡ μεγάλη, ἡ μήτηρ τῶν πορνῶν καὶ τῶν βδελυγμάτων τῆς γῆς; transliterated Mysteriōn, Babylōn hē megalē, hē mētēr tōn pornōn kai tōn bdelygmatōn tēs gēs).

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