The Value Of Revelation In Christian Faith
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
Revelation means uncovering that which is hidden, entering the core of the meaning and of the word, a sense beyond the understanding and mind. In the Old Testament no one who sees God survives. God is the terrific Truth beyond the eyesight. But the prophet Moses saw Him through a revelation and spoke to Him without having died. The same goes for Isaiah the great prophet who saw the Lord in His temple and when he saw Him cried out “Woe is me! For I am lost; … For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!17 But the seraphim touched him with a burning coal from the altar and said: “Behold this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven (you will not die)”18 Thus the prophet Isaiah’s vision was not with the physical eyes but through an unseen revelation.
Thus is the revelation of the Truth, because the Truth is God and is Christ who said “I am the Truth and the life”. It was given to the believer in Christ to have Christ revealed to him if he reveals the hidden truth in the Word. This forms the core of faith: not through eyesight’s vision nor through the mental sight i.e. understanding, but through the revelation beyond the understanding and the mind, because understanding and the mind are concerned with the visual and the aural. While Truth resembles God in that it cannot be seen nor heard through the senses. We must therefore be surprised with the apostle Paul who says about his vision of Christ “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard …. What God has prepared for those who love him.”19 The gift of true faith is that those who love the Lord reveal the Truth not through eyesight nor hearing. The Gospel’s word adds saying about the truth given to those who love Him: “nor the heart of humans conceived.”
The revelation of the truth is not felt in the heart because it is the spirit’s concern. As the truth is the core of the Divine word it is consequently close to the person who lives by faith. The Bible says: “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart, that is the word of faith (the truth).”20 So he who lives by earnest faith, surely the Truth is manifested to him and lives by Him.
The revelation of the truth is veiled in the gospel word, as Paul the Apostle avows openly: “When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ”21. Here the question is from where did Paul get his great perception of Christ and the truth while he was a persecutor of the Church and murderer of men and women when he forced them to blasphemy to be stoned. We know that the apostle Paul was not one of the Lord’s disciples nor did he live with them. So from where did he get his insight into the mystery of Christ which is the highest illustration of faith? Paul then answers for himself and says: “For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ”22. Here it is clear to us that revelation is more sublime than teaching, reading or understanding.
I hear sincerely say that thousands of virtuous believers that do not know how to read or write and have not learnt from any body, but are very strong in faith, and their steadfastness in the faith greatly surpasses those who read and learn. We ask: from where did this unsurpassable strong faith come? We say that this is the revelation. Out of the strength of their love for Christ, he revealed Himself to them and Christ’s words were fulfilled in them: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”23 This self manifestation is the self same revelation in its greatest and loftiest of meanings, and is accessible to the illiterate and those who do not read.
In the Bible we have the prophet Samuel as a young child brought up in the temple under Eli the priest’s tutorship. God appeared to Samuel and spoke to him and did not speak to Eli. The stature of childhood is the best prepared to receive the voice of God.
Thus revelation is not dependent on science, knowledge nor stature. Revelation is consequently open to every stature and at every level, to every one who loves the truth or asks for it
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