Special Revelation: God’s Direct Communication With You [2024]

Table of Contents

Let’s take a journey into the profound concept of special revelation. It’s an intriguing topic that has been at the heart of theological discussions for centuries. 

For our devoted pastors out there, grasping this concept could bring clarity to your sermons and depth to your spiritual leadership.

What is Special Revelation?

Special Revelation, by definition, is the term used to describe God’s specific and direct communication to individuals or groups, providing clear knowledge about His character, will, and purposes. 

This form of revelation is distinctly different from general revelation.

Where general revelation offers insights into God’s existence and attributes through the everyday wonders of nature and creation, special revelation goes a step further. 

It is through scriptures, prophetic visions, and unique divine interventions that believers get a more comprehensive understanding of God’s nature and desires.

This means that while the beauty of a sunset might reveal God’s creativity (general revelation), the words of the Bible, the prophecies, or even the life of Jesus Christ serve as clearer, more direct messages from God to us (special revelation).

For instance, think of significant events like Moses encountering the burning bush, or Paul’s transformative experience on the road to Damascus. 

These are prime examples of God reaching out in unmistakable, specific ways, ensuring that His message isn’t lost in translation.

It’s like the difference between hearing a whisper in a loud room and having someone speak directly into your ear. One can be easy to miss if you’re not paying attention, while the other is clear and impossible to ignore. 

And that, in essence, is the power and significance of special revelation.

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Special Revelation: A Glimpse in The Bible

The Bible serves as a remarkable testament of God’s special revelations to humankind. Within its verses, one can trace a series of divine interventions, visions, and direct messages that unequivocally display God’s communication with select individuals and groups.

One of the most notable examples is Moses’s encounter with the burning bush as documented in the book of Exodus. 

Moses and the burning bush
special revelation

While Moses was out shepherding his flock, he came across a bush ablaze yet unscathed. 

This was not a mere natural phenomenon; it was the setting for God’s direct communication with Moses. In this encounter, God commissioned Moses to lead the Israelites to freedom from Egyptian bondage. 

This account isn’t only a miraculous exhibition of God’s might but serves as a profound revelation of His character and plans for His people (Exodus 3:1-10).

Similarly, the book of Isaiah provides a riveting account of Isaiah’s vision. 

The prophet Isaiah, while in the Lord’s temple, witnesses the Lord seated high and exalted with seraphim proclaiming His sanctity. 

special revelation

This wasn’t a simple dream or a figment of imagination; it was a revelation that unveiled the majesty and holiness of God to Isaiah, marking a pivotal moment in his prophetic journey (Isaiah 6:1-3).

Paul’s transformative experience on the road to Damascus is yet another testament to special revelation. In his letter to the Galatians, he highlights the unique nature of his gospel, pointing out that he didn’t receive it from any human source. 

paul's conversion

Instead, it came directly through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul’s sudden encounter with Christ shifted his role from a fervent persecutor of Christians to becoming one of the most influential apostles in Christian history (Galatians 1:12).

These Biblical accounts, among numerous others, underline the distinct and intimate ways God chooses to communicate, offering individuals not only clarity and guidance but a profound understanding of His very nature.

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Special Revelation Vs. General Revelation

Both general and special revelations are paramount in understanding the multifaceted nature of God’s communication with humanity. While they both serve to unveil God’s character and intentions, the ways they manifest and the depth of their messages differ substantially.

General Revelation: This form of revelation is God’s display through the natural world. It’s like reading an artist’s soul through his artwork. 

As we look around—whether it’s the grandeur of the galaxies or the intricacies of a cell—we discern reflections of the Creator. 

general Revelation

The world becomes a canvas painted with the brushes of divine creativity. Every sunrise, every mountain peak, and even the rhythmic patterns of the seas echo the existence and attributes of God. 

As the apostle Paul mentioned, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20). 

This implies that no one can claim ignorance of God as His attributes are discernible in the world He created.

general revelation

Special Revelation: On the other hand, special revelation is much more direct and specific. It doesn’t merely hint at the existence of God, but rather provides explicit knowledge about His will, nature, and redemption plan. 

This revelation often breaks into our world in miraculous ways: through scriptures, dreams, visions, and divine interventions. 

For instance, the entire Bible is a compilation of special revelations, where God directly communicates to and through individuals. 

The prophecies, the instructions, the narratives—all give an inside look into the heart and mind of God. 

A believer doesn’t merely infer God’s attributes here but gets a clear, articulate message about who God is and what He desires.

In essence, while general revelation might provide a foundational knowledge of God, special revelation equips believers with a more profound and comprehensive understanding. 

They are two sides of the same coin, both crucial, providing a holistic perspective of the divine.

One might say that if general revelation is like watching a trailer of a movie, then special revelation is the full feature film, offering depth, detail, and clarity.

If you like this section, you will love our post titled, General Revelation Vs Special Revelation.

Why Special Revelation is Crucial

special revelation

The significance of special revelation in the spiritual journey of believers cannot be overstated. 

While general revelation provides a broad overview of God’s character and the wonders of His creation, special revelation zooms in, highlighting the intimate details of His redemptive plan and His desires for a personal relationship with every individual.

Completing the Puzzle: Imagine being handed a puzzle with beautiful imagery but missing its most critical pieces. You can infer what the complete picture might look like, but without those key pieces, you’re left without clarity. General revelation is akin to the broader parts of this puzzle. It provides a foundational understanding of God—His existence, power, and creativity. Yet, special revelation is the missing pieces that complete the puzzle. It provides specifics—God’s intentions, His redemptive plan, His expectations, and most importantly, His profound love for humanity.

A Personal God: One of the most distinguishing features of Christianity is its emphasis on a personal God who seeks an intimate relationship with His creation. General revelation introduces us to this God. We recognize His handiwork in nature, His order in the cosmos, and His moral law imprinted on our hearts. However, it’s through special revelation that God extends a direct invitation to know Him personally. Passages like Jeremiah 29:13, where God promises, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” underline this intent.

The Redemptive Arc: While the beauty of a sunset or the vastness of space can lead us to acknowledge a Creator, these general revelations don’t impart the details of His plan to rescue humanity from sin and restore the broken relationship. Special revelation, especially through scriptures, presents the grand narrative—from the fall in the Garden of Eden to the salvation brought by Jesus Christ. It is through scriptures like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” that believers grasp the profound depths of God’s love and His desire to reconcile with humanity.

Special revelation is indispensable. While general revelation offers an introduction, special revelation provides the full story. 

special revelation

It bridges the gap between a distant deity and a personal Savior, ensuring that believers are not merely aware of God but can genuinely know and experience Him.

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Responding To God’s Direct Communication

cross jesus

Special revelation is more than just an acknowledgment of God’s presence; it’s an open invitation to step into a profound and transformative relationship with Him. 

At the heart of this revelation lies the gospel message—a beautiful narrative of God’s relentless love, His sacrifice, and the redemptive hope He offers to every individual. 

Responding to this revelation requires more than a mere nod of agreement; it demands a heart open to transformation and a life committed to pursuing God’s ways.

The Gospel Message: At its core, the gospel is the “good news” of Jesus Christ. It begins with the recognition of humanity’s brokenness and sin, which separates us from a holy God. 

Recognizing this chasm, God, in His infinite love, sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth. Jesus lived a sinless life, took on the weight of humanity’s sin, and sacrificed Himself on the cross. 

His resurrection three days later conquered death and sin, providing a path for reconciliation between God and man. As John 3:17 articulates, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Accepting the Invitation: Recognizing this profound act of love and the truth of the gospel is just the beginning. Accepting a relationship with God through Christ involves:

Acknowledgment of Sin: Understand and admit the existence of personal sin and its consequences. As Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Repentance: This is a genuine sorrow for sin and a decision to turn away from it. Repentance is about changing direction from self-centeredness to God-centeredness.

Belief in Jesus: Placing faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior—the one who took the penalty for our sins. Acts 16:31 emphasizes, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Commitment to Follow: It’s not just about a one-time prayer but a lifelong commitment to follow Christ, to be shaped by His teachings, and to be in communion with Him.

Strengthening the Bond: Once a person accepts this relationship with God through Christ, the journey doesn’t end—it begins. 

It’s an adventure of diving deeper into God’s Word, building a life on His principles, engaging in constant communication through prayer, and being a part of a community of believers that uplifts, challenges, and nurtures.

jesus empty tomb

In essence, responding to special revelation is both a moment and a journey. 

It’s a moment of surrender and acceptance and a lifelong journey of growing, learning, and walking hand in hand with the Creator of the universe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special revelation?

Special revelation refers to the unique ways God directly communicates His nature, will, and purposes to humanity. This revelation is distinct from general revelation, which is God’s subtle message in nature. Special revelation is more explicit, showcasing specific truths about God, such as through scriptures, prophetic visions, and direct divine interventions.

How does special revelation differ from general revelation?

While general revelation offers insights into God’s existence and attributes through observing the natural world, special revelation provides a deeper, more direct understanding of God’s character, intentions, and plans through specific mediums like the Bible, visions, and divine interactions.

Are the scriptures the only form of special revelation?

No, while the scriptures (Bible) are a primary source of special revelation, God also reveals Himself through prophetic visions, dreams, and direct interactions, as seen in various biblical accounts.

Why is special revelation important for believers?

Special revelation illuminates God’s specific guidance, instructions, and promises, enabling believers to have a deepened, transformative relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

Can someone experience special revelation today?

Many believers testify to experiencing God’s direct guidance, insights, and interventions in their lives today. While the canon of scripture is closed, the Holy Spirit continues to work in the hearts and lives of individuals.

How does one respond to special revelation?

Responding involves acknowledging, understanding, and acting upon the insights provided. It encompasses accepting God’s love through the gospel, repenting for one’s sins, placing faith in Jesus Christ, and committing to a life following His teachings.

Is special revelation available to everyone?

While special revelation, like scripture, is accessible to everyone, specific instances of prophetic visions or direct divine interventions may be uniquely experienced by certain individuals based on God’s sovereign will.

How can I discern genuine special revelation from deception?

It’s crucial to test every revelation against the scriptures. Any revelation that contradicts or goes against the teachings of the Bible should be approached with caution. Engaging with a community of believers, seeking wise counsel, and praying for discernment can also help.

Does special revelation change over time?

The truths revealed in special revelation, especially the scriptures, are timeless and unchanging. However, the ways in which individuals might experience or interpret these revelations could vary based on context, culture, and personal experiences.

How does special revelation shape Christian theology?

Christian theology is heavily rooted in special revelation. Foundational beliefs about the nature of God, salvation, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the role of the Holy Spirit are all derived from the scriptures and other forms of special revelation.

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  1. I’m happy about your response to the question, “Can someone experience special revelation today?” I want a more thorough explanation to the question because it’s one of the most frequently asked questions in Christian theology today.

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